Imparting Ethno-aesthetic Knowledge in John Hawkesworth’s Report on Cook’s First Voyage to the South Pacific (1768–1771)

in Transfers
Sebastian Kaufmann Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

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Artistic practices in ethnological knowledge transfer can be found in the well-known account of James Cook’s first voyage (1768–1771) by John Hawkesworth (Account of the Voyages […] in the Southern Hemisphere, 1773), which shows that such travel accounts are not only vehicles of knowledge transfer but also means of knowledge (re)construction, and at times this process of remolding knowledge extends to a rewriting that includes elements of fiction. Hence, the article will draw on the material assembled by Cook and Joseph Banks in their Endeavour Journals to identify in Hawkesworth’s examples of (ethno-aesthetic) knowledge construction and “invention.” A comparison of the different types of texts is rewarding not least because Hawkesworth’s account strove to present the new knowledge to a broader audience. An identification of Hawkesworth’s departures from his sources facilitates the reading of the act of knowledge transfer as a process of knowledge transformation.

Contributor Notes

Sebastian Kaufmann teaches German literature and philosophy at the University of Freiburg and works as a research associate at the Heidelberg Academy of Sciences and Humanities. His research interests lie in literature and philosophy from the eighteenth to the twentieth centuries, aesthetics, and anthropology. His recent publications include “Schöpft des Dichters reine Hand …Studien zu Goethes poetologischer Lyrik (Heidelberg, 2011); with Jochen Schmidt, Nietzsche-Kommentar 3,1 (Berlin and Boston, 2015); and coedited with Stefan Hermes, Der ganze Mensch—die ganze Menschheit: Völkerkundliche Anthropologie, Literatur und Ästhetik um 1800 (Berlin and Boston, 2014). E-mail:

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