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Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002$
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Thomas O. Beebee

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195339383

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2009

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195339383.001.0001

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Tribulations of the Late Nineteenth Century

Tribulations of the Late Nineteenth Century

(p.80) 3 Tribulations of the Late Nineteenth Century
Millennial Literatures of the Americas, 1492-2002

Thomas O Beebee (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how, in the last quarter of the 19th century, millenial thought shifted from the “dominant Protestant (or reform Catholic) mind” to the “dominated hybrid mind.” One of the period’s unusual features was the simultaneous occurrence of significant millennial movements in North and South America: the chapter consider the period from 1869, the time of the first Red River Rebellion in present-day Manitoba, through the Ghost Dance that resulted in the Wounded Knee Massacre of 1891, to 1897, the year of the Canudos war in Brazil, as well as with the literary testimonials to these events. In all three cases, the racial makeup of the population that distanced them from the dominant culture and made them victims of “progress” was a contributing factor. Hybridity played a role, as Christianity was combined with native elements and endowed with messianic capabilities. These movements were in the end contained by the dominant culture in each case through violent confrontations in which superior technology played a key role in the victory, and each was accompanied by an outpouring of literary texts that reflected the apocalyptic mood of the times.

Keywords:   19th century, Ghost Dance, Wounded Knee Massacre, Red River Rebellion, Louis Riel, Canudos War, Antônio Conselheiro, hybridity

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