Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online

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Noble savage
(1,548 words)

1. Concept

The figure of the noble savage (French bon sauvage, German edler/guter Wilder) has been a topos of European philosophy, literature, art, and politics since the time of the voyages of discovery, but it attained its most influential expression in the French Enlightenment. It offered a model based on an amalgam of concepts of the indigenous inhabitants of Caribbean, African, and Pacific regions with the ideal of unspoiled humankind living in the stat…

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Mahlke, Kirsten, “Noble savage”, in: Encyclopedia of Early Modern History Online, Editors of the English edition: Graeme Dunphy, Andrew Gow. Original German Edition: Enzyklopädie der Neuzeit. Im Auftrag des Kulturwissenschaftlichen Instituts (Essen) und in Verbindung mit den Fachherausgebern herausgegeben von Friedrich Jaeger. Copyright © J.B. Metzlersche Verlagsbuchhandlung und Carl Ernst Poeschel Verlag GmbH 2005–2012. Consulted online on 14 April 2021 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2352-0272_emho_COM_018527>
First published online: 2015
First print edition: 20200128



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