Derek Hughes blackness in gobineau and behn

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Derek Hughes
“La plus belle conquête de l’homme ne fut pas le cheval, mais l’esclave” (“The finest victory of mankind was not to tame the horse, but the slave”) (Georges Vacher de Lapouge [1854-1936])
Historians of the subject agree that the pseudo‑science of racial differentiation started to take shape in the mid‑eighteenth century, becoming fully elaborated only as the following century took its course. Previously, writes Edward Beasley, “there was no idea of race as we have come to know it--no widely shared theory of biologically determined, physical, intellectual, and moral differences between different human groups”.1 There had been some marginal attempts in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries to deny full humanity to native Americans and black Africans‑‑for example, by Las Casas’ opponent Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda‑‑but they were far from the mainstream.2 In a short essay of 1684, François Bernier proposed a “Nouvelle division de la terre par les différents espèces ou races qui l'habitent”, 3 wherein he divided humanity into four or five groups. Apart from a disparaging comment about the Lapps, however, he did not propose a hierarchy of races, he has no theory of racial origins, and a third of the work is, rather trivially, devoted to appreciating the beautiful woman of various colours. Although “race” occurs as one of two alternative terms in the title, it is the other‑‑“espèce”‑‑that is preferred in the text.

Elsewhere, “race” meant primarily either “nation” or “family”. A century later, indeed, in one of the pioneering works of the dark science of racial theory, his Grundriss der Geschichte der Menschheit (1785), Christoph Meiners complains that the term “Raçe” [sic] had not hitherto had an agreed meaning. He himself divides the single “Geschlecht” of humanity into two “Stämme” (lines), of Caucasian and Mongolian. These are further subdivided into “Raçen”, which in turn are subdivided: into, in the case of the Mongolians, “hordes”.4 Race, a concept which we take for granted, was thus very slow in its formulation. Only after it has crystallized can we find propositions such as the following: “Races are the constant element in the flux of events” (“Die Racen sind eben das Dauernde im Wechsel der Ereignisse”)5

“Racial differences are permanent” (“Les différences ethniques sont permanentes”), wrote Arthur, Comte de Gobineau, in one of the most notorious affirmations of racial inequality, his Essai sur l’inégalité des races humaines (1853‑55):6 “Present races . . . differ from each other by external form and the proportion of their limbs, by the bony structure of their head, and by the inner structure of their body” (“Les races actuelles . . . [diffèrent] entre elles par les formes extérieures et les proportions des membres, par la structure de la tête osseuse, par la conformation interne du corps”). Furthermore, the physical differences produce radical dissimilarity and inequality, which extend to the moral life (“les effets de dissemblance radicale et d'inégalité . . . que j'appliquerai plus tard à leur vie morale”) (1:137). Writing nearly two centuries after Behn, Gobineau is presenting these conclusions as new discoveries, requiring extensive documentation and urgent action. He does not see himself as reiterating truths that had been familiar for centuries.

In scholarly discussion of Oroonoko, nevertheless, race is a topic that will not go away. A well-known article by Margaret Ferguson is devoted to “Juggling the Categories of Race, Class and Gender”.7 Imoinda has been seen as a kind of sexual lightning conductor, preventing the horror of miscegenation between the hero and the white women.8 Oroonoko’s part‑European features have been interpreted as revealing a deplorably Eurocentric attitude on Behn’s part, but also as indicating, in a kind of reverse code, that Behn herself was partly African, and was nervously “passing” for white in a racially intolerant society.9

This is to some extent understandable: it is quite reasonable to look in early texts for the half‑conscious adumbration of outlooks that were to become fully articulated, and elaborately justified, in later times. Yet it is also possible to be anachronistic, and to take for granted the relevance of attitudes that did not emerge until later. “Before the middle of the nineteenth century,” writes Edward Beasley, “ . . . black people in Britain did not face discrimination because of skin colour” (14‑15). Between us and Oroonoko lie almost two centuries of intensive theorizing about racial difference. If the theorizing no longer dictates the ways in which educated people think about race, it dictates the ways in which they imagine the racism of others. My aim in this article, therefore, is to give some account‑‑selective, but nevertheless wide‑ranging‑‑of the development and diversification of racial thought from the mid-eighteenth to the early twentieth century, as a means of showing how different from later developments was the mental universe that Behn brought to the imagining of non‑white peoples. I want, that is, to remove two centuries of varnish from the portrait that she painted.10

Racial theory, even in its heyday, was anything but monolithic. Theories of racial differentiation are not, of course, necessarily hierarchical. Some theorists believed that all races descended from a single source (monogenism); others that they were separately created (polygenism). The number of races postulated varied hugely, and assumptions about the history and chronology of the earth and its creatures could be Biblical, Cuverian, Darwinian, or none of these. Accordingly, race could be seen as immutably created, or gradually formed. The theorists could be socially conservative or (in other respects) reformist: detailed assertion of the inferiority of the Black African, for example, was not incompatible with eloquent denunciation of slavery. This is most notable in the work of Julien Joseph Virey, but even Gobineau is taken aback by American treatment of native Americans and Black Africans.11 In addition, the character of racial theory changed profoundly with developments in palaeontology and archaeology, and with growing interest in the identity and origin of the Aryan race. Views on racial interbreeding also varied. For Gobineau, the inevitability of interbreeding with inferior and subject races doomed humanity (though he also believed that the artistic impulse was infused into the white race by interbreeding with black peoples). For his predecessor, Victor Courtet de Lisle, however, interbreeding mitigated hierarchies of class that were originally racially based (in France, on the superiority of Frank to Roman, and Roman to Gaul).12 Whereas Behn critics tend to see race and class as distinct categories, in periods of high racism they were deeply linked.

Nevertheless, amidst all the conflict and inconsistency on fundamental matters, one almost universal principle emerges: race creates culture. For the non‑racist, differences of ethnic character are due to external influences of education and custom: a view that had already been proposed by José de Acosta in the late sixteenth century.13 For the racial theorist, culture, and even religion, were products of racial character. For Gobineau, for example, the sacrificial barbarity of the Aztecs resulted from the double current of black and yellow which had formed the race (“résultait naturellement du double courant noir et jaune qui avait formé la race”) (2:512). According to Houston Stewart Chamberlain, similarly, “we find human sacrifice only where (as in Phoenicia) the Semitic element strongly predominated”.14 Similarly, the Reformation was held to have split Europe along racial lines, with the long-skulled (dolichocephalic) Aryans choosing Protestantism, and the inferior short-skulled (brachycephalic) races remaining Catholic. Theodor Pösche writes of “The great separation of churches, . . . which can with great justice be called a separation of races” (“die grosse Kirchentrennung . . . , die man mit gutem Recht eine Völkertrennung nennen kann”)15 In areas of mixed denomination, it was asserted, religious affiliation correlated exactly with skull‑type (Vacher de Lapouge 387). Similarly, Gobineau saw the characteristics of different French regions being determined by the different racial heritage admixtures of their inhabitants. Bretons, for example, retained an unusual amount of Druid blood, and the instinct for human sacrifice was now expressed in its modern equivalent of killing and plundering shipwreck victims (Essai 1:44). Likewise, Josiah C. Nott and George Gliddon explain Robespierre’s cruelty by asserting that he belonged to a darker‑skinned strain of Frenchmen.16

As racial theory develops, we can witness a progressive increase of anxiety. The idea of racial inferiority merits a footnote in Hume, who in 1753 declares himself “apt to suspect the Negroes and in general all other species of men (for there are four or five different kinds) to be naturally inferior to the whites”.17 The seminal exercise in methodical racial categorization of Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752‑1840), however, denies the inferiority of black races (and allows much to mutable external influences).18 Black inferiority is asserted by, among others, Christoph Meiners (1747‑1810) and Julien Joseph Virey (1775-1846), and William Lawrence (1783‑1867), but as a subordinate part of a wider investigation of the natural history of mankind. By the mid-nineteenth century, however, racial anxiety has taken centre stage, in summae such as Nott and Gliddon’s Types of Mankind and Gobineau’s Essai. Gobineau is prey to a fear that haunted the nineteenth century in various forms: that the world would end, not as the consummation of a divine plan, but as a result of arbitrary, impersonal, and material forces, such as global cooling, plague, or geological catastrophe. To this fearful catalogue Gobineau adds racial interbreeding. As already indicated, he viewed race as the determining force in history, and in the rise and fall of civilizations. The final apocalypse would be the extinction of rational life through degenerative interbreeding. All civilizations, said Gobineau, fall. Ours is the first to know that this will happen:

We moderns are the first to know that every human society, and its resulting form of intellectual culture, is bound to perish. Former ages did not think this.

C'est nous modernes, nous les premiers, qui savons que toute agglomération d'hommes et le mode de culture intellectuelle qui en résulte doivent périr. Les époques précédentes ne le croyaient pas. (1:3)

Finally, it is necessary to distinguish works of theoretical speculation such as Gobineau’s from the racial theory that was being produced in the United States, which was urgently linked to an anti-abolitionist agenda. Although he denied that the black race had ever created a civilization, Gobineau was claiming that it did not have the critical mass of talent to do so; he stressed that, in many particular cases, an individual black man might be more intelligent than an individual white man (1:185-86). This is not the kind of concession one finds in the contemporary US ventures into racial science, such as Josiah Nott’s and George Gliddon’s Types of Mankind (1855). Indeed, the first book of Gobineau’s Essai was quickly translated by Nott’s protegé, Henry Hotz, and in the translation Gobineau’s concession about the abilities of individual blacks is omitted.19 Similarly, Virey’s Histoire naturelle du genre humain had earlier been excerpted by J. H. Guenebault to produce a Natural History of the Negro Race, published in Charleston in 1837, and contriving to turn Virey’s denunciation of slavery on its head: pro-slavery arguments which Virey holds up to scorn are retained, while his trenchant rebuttals are silently omitted.

§ § §

In 1775, Buffon famously predicted that the time remaining before total glaciation extinguished life on earth would be 93,291 years.20 The end of the world was foreseen not by prophecy but by mathematical calculation, as the consequence of remorseless, unthinking physical laws. The histories of humanity and of the planet were not identical.

In the 1850s another French count—Gobineau—published a similarly bleak calculation.

One would thus be tempted to assign to man’s domination of the earth a total duration of twelve to fourteen thousand years, divided into two periods: the one, which has passed, will have witnessed the vigour and intellectual greatness of the species; the other, which has begun, will witness its flagging steps towards decrepitude. . . . The world, now mute, will continue to describe its mindless orbits in space. But without us.

On serait donc tenté d'assigner à la domination de l'homme sur la terre une durée totale de douze à quatorze mille ans, divisée en deux périodes: l'une, qui est passée, aura vu, aura possédé la jeunesse, la vigueur, la grandeur intellectuelle de l'espèce ; l'autre, qui est commencée, en connaîtra la marche défaillante vers la décrépitude. . . . Le globe, devenu muet, continuera, mais sans nous, à décrire dans l'espace ses orbes impassibles. (2:563)

The total period of human ascendancy will be a few thousand years, after which the earth will revert to being an insensate ball of matter in motion. The cause of this bleak future of inevitable decline and fall was racial interbreeding, which becomes an inexorable scientific process comparable to Buffon’s geological laws. “May not,” wrote Josiah Nott, “that Law of nature, which so often forbids the commingling of species, complete its work of destruction, and at some future day leave the fossil remains alone of man to tell the tale of his past existence upon earth” (Types of Mankind 80).

The process is already under way, and key stages of it are outside history. What we know, through observation and historical record, is only comprehensible in the light of the dark spaces before and afterwards. If the final stages are intrinsically unobservable, because there will be no sentient observers left, the early, crucial stages of racial formation cannot be seen either, because they predate historical narrative. They may, however, be glimpsed through myth—the understanding of which, of course, completely changes in this period. For Gobineau, the racially pure Aryans had in Greece succumbed to cross‑breeding before the commencement of the historical record. Memories of the pure race are, however, preserved in myths such as those of the Titans. The evidence of mythology about racial prehistory can also, increasingly, be supplemented by that of archaeology and the earth sciences. Like many other disciplines in the nineteenth century, therefore racial “science” conforms itself to the model of geology. As in the study of myth, or language, or texts such as the Iliad and the Pentateuch, there is a quasi‑geological uncovering of layers, as the nature of a culture is explained by exposing the successive stages of its racial composition. Gobineau, for example, opens his work with an image of archaeological excavation:

One felt vaguely that it was necessary to excavate from this direction if one wanted to expose the hitherto unseen foundations of history, and one had a premonition that in this class of ideas so imperfectly polished, under these obscure mysteries, one ought to meet at certain depths the vast substructures on which were gradually erected the foundations, then the walls, in short all the manifold and various social developments which together form the mosaic of our people.

On sentait vaguement qu'il fallait fouiller de ce côté si l'on voulait mettre à découvert la base encore inaperçue de l'histoire et on pressentait que dans cet ordre de notions si peu dégrossies, sous ces mystères si obscurs, devaient se rencontrer à de certaines profondeurs les vastes substructions sur lesquelles se sont graduellement élevées les assises, puis les murs, bref tous les développements sociaux des multitudes si variées dont l'ensemble compose la marqueterie de nos peuples.(1:xi-xii)

For us, the fossils in the ancient rocks are long extinct, except in fantasies such as Verne’s Voyage au centre de la Terre. Yet the old layers did not always seem quite so dead. Charles Lyell speculated that further climatic change might bring back the dinosaurs: “Then might those genera of animals return, of which the memorials are preserved in the ancient rocks of our continents. The huge iguanadon might reappear in the woods, and the ichthyosaur in the sea, while the pterodactyle might flit again through the umbrageous groves of tree-ferns.”21 Similar imaginings of regression enter racial thought. In Types of Mankind, black peoples were held to represent an earlier stage of evolution than whites (409). It was reported that the skull of a seventeenth century Danish gentleman showed distinct signs of reversion to the Neanderthal, as did that of Robert the Bruce (Taylor, Origin 108). There are internal layers as well. For the social Darwinian Georges Vacher de Lapouge, evolutionary selection worked at the level of psychology as well as physical form, so that the structure of one’s mind bears the imprint of the evolving history of the race, and different races have different psychologies. Again, the metaphor is geological:

Each of us, on coming into the world, brings into it a mentality which is his own, but which is also a synthesis of an infinite number of ancestral mentalities. That which thinks and acts in it is the innumerable legion of ancestors buried beneath the earth; it is everything which has felt, thought, and desired in the infinite line, bifurcating in each generation, which links the individual, across millions of years and countless billions of ancestors, to the first lumps of matter to reproduce themselves.

Chacun de nous venant au monde apporte sa mentalité à lui, qui est sienne, mais qui est la synthèse d’un nombre infini de mentalités ancestrales. Ce qui pense et agi en lui, c’est l’innombrable legion des aïeux couchés sous terre, c’est tout ce qui a senti, pensé, voulu dans la lignée infinite, bifurquée à chaque generation, qui rattache l’individu, au travers de millions d’années et par des milliards innombrables d’ancêtres, aux premiers grumeaux de matière vivante qui se sont reproduits. (L’Aryen 350‑51)

As a concomitant to the layering of the past, and of myth, we witness the development of fictional narratives with a vertical axis (such as Voyage au centre de la Terre): not the fixed, symbolic vertical systems of the Divine Comedy or Paradise Lost, but ones in which the depths can challenge the heights, as do the subterranean dwarfs in Wagner’s Ring. Systems in which the dinosaurs of the mind might reclaim the earth. A particularly good example can be seen in Bram Stoker’s late novel The Lair of the White Worm (1911), where the threats to civilization are represented both by a black African “savage”, Oolanga, and by a beautiful woman, whose form is an avatar assumed by a gigantic prehistoric reptile, living at the bottom of a deep, vertical shaft. The monsters locked in the depths of the rocks reappear, as projections of the racial and sexual fears of modern man. As a translation of racial ideas into a system of spatial and chronological co‑ordinates, this is a complete antithesis of Oroonoko, though its iconography of the irrational is very characteristic of its period:

The depths of the French population have little in common with the surface. It is an abyss above which civilization is suspended, and the deep, motionless waters, sleeping at the bottom of the chasm, will one day show an irresistible dissolving power.

le fond de la population française n’a que peu de points communs avec sa surface; c’est un abîme au-dessus duquel la civilisation est suspendue, et les eaux profondes et immobiles, dormant au fond du gouffre, se montreront, quelque jour, irrésistiblement dissolvantes. (Gobineau, Essai, 1:101-02)

Yet when we have penetrated through these differences, which affect mainly the intelligent and thoughtful part of the community, we shall find underlying them all a solid stratum of intellectual agreement among the dull, the weak, the ignorant, and the superstitious, who constitute, unfortunately, the vast majority of mankind. One of the great achievements of the nineteenth century was to run shafts down into this low mental stratum in many parts of the world, and thus to discover its substantial identity everywhere. It is beneath our feet—and not very far beneath them—here in Europe at the present day.22

The landscape of Oroonoko is, by contrast, a horizontal one; no-one visits the mountains of gold in the interior, and no‑one disappears abysses, either in the rocks or in the mind. I naturally do not claim that this flat expanse has a specific symbolic value, in the way that Stoker’s vertical one does. It is simply that Behn’s mental world has no need for the symbolism of vertical spaces, for she is concerned with externally acquired cultural qualities. With surface.

In moving to Behn, I will start with the passage that many people feel compelled to discuss: the notorious description of Oroonoko as beautiful, bright, and nasally perfect.

He was pretty tall, but of a Shape the most exact that can be fancied: the most famous Statuary cou’d not form the Figure of a Man more admirably turn’d from Head to Foot. His Face was not of that brown rusty Black which most of that Nation are, but of perfect Ebony, or polish’d Jett. His Eyes were the most awful that cou’d be seen, and very piercing; the White of 'em being like Snow, as were his Teeth. His Nose was rising and Roman, instead of African and flat. His Mouth the finest shap’d that could be seen; far from those great turn’d Lips which are so natural to the rest of the Negroes. . . . Nor did the Perfections of his Mind come short of those of his Person; for his Discourse was admirable upon almost any Subject: and who‑ever had heard him speak wou’d have been convinc’d of their Errors, that all fine Wit is confin’d to the White Men, especially to those of Christendom.23

This is an impressive statement of the aesthetic, intellectual, and moral equality of a black African and European (especially if one comes to it after immersion in Types of Mankind). Nevertheless, Oroonoko’s Roman nose has aroused strong reactions, especially from those‑‑such as Catherine Reinhardt, Aimable Twagilimana, and Laura Brown—who see it as revealing Behn’s racially insensitivity. For Reinhardt, for example, it is “deprecation of the African phenotype” (a highly anachronistic term, in my view).24

This passage can profitably be compared with one from a source which Behn certainly knew, Jean‑Baptiste du Tertre’s Histoire generale des Antilles habitées par les François:

If their noses are flat, it is because the fathers and mothers crush their noses to make them like that, just as they apply extraordinary pressure to the lips to make them full, for they are not like that naturally. Thus, the first child that we brought up of our black slave Dominique at Guadeloupe had a face just as beautiful, a nose just as aquiline, and lips just as thin as the French. In a word, there was nothing of the Negro but the colour and the hair, because one of our priests had so explicitly forbidden the mother to flatten his nose, that she did not dare crush it. This good Father, thinking that she would treat in the same manner the daughter which she subsequently bore, spoke no further to her about it. But he was wrong, and when he rebuked her she replied that she had done it to make her daughter better looking than her son. For she believed him extremely ugly, since he did not possess that hideous deformity in which, in their country, they locate beauty.

S'ils sont camus, c'est que les Peres et les Meres leur écrasent le nez pour les rendre tels, comme ils leur pressent extraordinairement les levres pour les faire lippus: car ils ne viennent point tels naturellement: aussi le premier que nous avons élevé de nostre Négre Dominique à la Guadeloupe, a le visage aussi beau, le nez aussi aquilin, & les lévres aussi minces que les François: en un mot, il n'a rien de Négre que la couleur & les cheveux, parce qu'un de nos Peres avoit si expressément deffendu à sa mere de luy applatir le nez, qu’elle n'osa pas luy écacher. Ce bon Pere croyant qu’elle traiteroit de la mesme maniere la -fille qu'elle eut en suite, il ne luy en parla pas davantage; mais il se trompa: & comme il luy en fit reproche, elle répondit que c'estoit pour la rendre plus belle que son fils, qu'elle croyoit extrémement laid, parce qu'il n'avait pas cette déformité hideuse dans laquelle ils establissent la beauté en leur pays.25

This was a commonly held view, and it survived in a qualified form until Buffon—who cited Du Tertre—and even Blumenbach, the inventor of the Caucasian race.26 Buffon also assures us that there are Black Africans with well proportioned noses and European ideas of beauty (“Variétés” 457), so it is probably a bit hasty to condemn Behn’s use of European criteria sixty years earlier. As for the artificially flattened nose, it was a view sufficiently entrenched for Samuel Thomas Sömmering to feel obliged to rebut it, when in 1784, he published an account of the dissection of Black African corpses.27

So is the African nose for Behn inherited or a cultural artefact? In fact, probably the former, since she describes the flat nose and full lips as “natural” to Black Africans. Bernier had indeed cited thick lips and squashed noses (“Leurs grosses levres & leur nez écaché”) as characteristic of the black race, but even he does not rule out Roman noses, describing “le nez aquilin” as a rarity rather than an impossibility (“Nouvelle Division” 135). The difference of opinion about the African nose can only diminish its status as an absolute racial “phenotype”: the boundaries of culture and what later ages would call race were drawn differently, and elsewhere Behn is very clearly writing about culture, not race.

For Gobineau, racial characteristics are inexorably determined by the body:

The black variety is the lowest and lies at the bottom of the ladder. The animal character stamped on the form of its pelvis imposes its destiny on it, from the moment of conception.

La variété mélanienne est la plus humble et gît au bas de l'échelle. Le caractère d'animalité empreint dans la forme de son bassin lui impose sa destinée, dès l'instant de la conception. (Essai 1:214)28

In Behn, by contrast, there is absolutely no essentialist concept of the racial body. Peoples are distinguished not by their bodies, but by what they do to them, manipulation, marking, and mutilation of the bodies being recurrent concerns. The Carib priests manipulate the bodies of the sick, Imoinda’s body is cut with wonderfully ornate markings, the Carib war leaders competitively mutilate themselves, and Oroonoko is executed by dismemberment. The only European body to directly described is that of the fisherman whom long exposure to the sun has made indistinguishable in complexion from the Caribs (100). This is an exception that proves an interesting rule: that we do not see a “normal” European body. The feature that distinguishes the European body is that it is clothed. In the triangular meeting in the interior between the Caribs on the one side and the English and Oroonoko on the other, the distinctive thing about the Caribs is that some of them lack noses, ears, and lips. The corresponding peculiarity of the English is their clothes. Each side is equally astonished by the strangeness of the other, but the strangeness in each case is cultural modification of the body, and astonishment at the mutilated chiefs is primarily expressed by the African, Oroonoko. So it is a very unstable moment, in which we are denied a fixed point of cultural normality.

In the case of the warriors, as in the beautiful patterns on Imoinda’s “delicately Cut” body (92), ethnic peculiarity lies in something which is superficially and externally done to the body, rather than something that it immanent in it. While Blumenbach and Virey were also to report non‑committally on body‑marking,29 Gobineau‑‑typically‑‑sees it as a marker of racial inferiority:

It is originally a Negro idea and entirely consistent with the notions of that race. . . . A custom proper to the yellow and black races, which they have made the white races most strongly mixed with them to adopt.

c'est une idée originairement nègre et tout à fait conforme aux notions de cette espèce. . . . une habitude propre à ces deux variétés [yellow and black] et qu'elles l'ont fait adopter aux races blanches les plus fortement mêlées à elles. (1:311, 248)

Again, the contrast is between surface and depth: between visible racial characteristics as external veneer, and as expressions of a system whose sources are deep inside the human body, in the shape of the pelvis.

I do not, of course, suggest that Oroonoko appeared in a world that was unprejudiced against alien peoples. That would be nonsense. In the early modern period, as Colin Kidd has observed, “Racist attitudes existed, but, significantly, did not rest upon clearly articulated theories of racial difference”.30 The most visible dividing line between peoples in the early modern world was religion. For later racial “scientists”, as illustrated above, the forms of religion were dictated by race. By contrast, while early modern ethnographers distinguish “primitive” peoples (often in the same geographic area) from each other by their receptivity to true religion, there is widespread agreement that they can eventually acquire it. Some of the most extreme proto‑racist views of the early modern period are those of Las Casas’ opponent Juan Ginés de Sepúlveda, who defends the conquest of Mexico by describing the inhabitants as “less than men” (“humunculi”) and as natural slaves. He asserts, however, that they have been totally transformed by conversion: “from savage to humane, from blind to sighted, from cruel to gentle, and from impiou;s to pious (“a barbaris humani, a caecis oculati mites ab immanibus, pijque ab impijs”.31

One might contrast this belief in cultural transformation with a paper presented to the Anthropological Society of America in 1868, entitled Uncivilized Races. Proving that Many Races of Men are Incapable of Civilization, whose author praises Gobineau and argues:

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