Sz. Kristof-The Representation of the Australian Aborigines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe/Hungary (Revista Caiana (Buenos Aires), dossier "Ci

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Sz. Kristof-The Representation of the Australian Aborigines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe/Hungary (Revista Caiana (Buenos Aires), dossier "Ciencia y

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  ♯ 5   segundo semestre 2014 : 126-139   The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe – Hungary /   Ildikó Sz. Kristóf    Ildikó Sz. Kristóf Institute of Ethnology - Hungarian Academy of Sciences The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of  Anthropology in Central Europe/Hungary ISSN 2313-9242    ♯ 5   segundo semestre 2014: 126-139   The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe – Hungary /   Ildikó Sz. Kristóf    The Representation of the  Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of  Anthropology in Central Europe/Hungary Ildikó Sz. Kristóf Institute of Ethnology - Hungarian Academy of Sciences  A manuscript entitled  Az ember Australiában  ( The Man in Australia ) can be found in one of the collections of private files in the Library of Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest, Hungary. It has been preserved among the miscellaneous files (handwritten notes, letters and other kinds of shorter writings) of Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863), a Hungarian physician who practiced during the first half of the 19 th  century. The manuscript, written in Hungarian, consists of six sheets of paper altogether. The individual sheets are folded in two, and inserted in one another like a booklet. Not all pages of the  booklet are filled with letters; there are altogether nineteen pages that are. As for its content, the manuscript is divided into nine different subchapters, and most of them bear an underlined title. The first unit starts right after the main title and discusses the bodily structure and the geographical environment of the  Australian indigenous people (in approximately three pages). This is followed by eight other units under the following titles: “Religion” (approximately two and a half pages), “Habitation” (approximately two pages), “Way of life” (approximately one page), “Marriage” (approximately five and a half pages), “Superstition” (approximately two and a half pages), “Inclinations” (approximately two pages), “Dress” (shorter than a page), and finally, “Language” (some what longer than a page) 1  The manuscript and the historical contexts in  which it was embedded and of which it was a product can throw light on cultural practices relating to the representation of the Distant Other in 19th-century Europe. Revealing the technology and the channels of communication  by which ideas—textual as well as visual concepts of non-European indigenous people— were mediated from one geographical-cultural region to another, the manuscript on Australia is an excellent source for getting insight into the local socio-cultural world(s) surrounding the emergence of the science of anthropology during the late 18 th  and early 19 th  century. The manuscript by Almási Balogh is the first monographic work on ethnography/anthropology ever compiled in Hungary dedicated to the native inhabitants of the fifth continent. It is, however, undated and it has never been published. Absent from the  bibliographical-historiographical collections of the related sciences, 2  it has been completely unknown to Hungarian anthropologists, historians, and historians of science until recently. 3  However, as it will be discussed  below, the purpose of its compilation can be inferred from its physical form as a text described above as well as from the profession and the activity of its author. 4  Additionally, some inner textual references together with important visual aspects of the content could contribute to a better estimation of the time period in which it came into existence.  Applying an approach of micro-history, let us start with outlining some of the relevant historical contexts of the manuscript, one after the other. Starting from a piece of handwritten text soon I will arrive at printed books and then at images (engravings) of anthropological relevance. All this will lead me to inquire into reading practices and processes of reception and appropriation in the field of scientific discourse as well as into the broader socio-cultural world of late Enlightenment and early Romanticism in Europe in which all the former were embedded. 5  The author of the manuscript, Pál Almási Balogh, was a learned scholar of Hungarian noble srcin. He was an important figure in the intellectual and scientific life in the early 19 th  century in the Kingdom of Hungary, which at that time formed part of the Habsburg Empire. 126  ♯ 5   segundo semestre 2014: 126-139   The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe – Hungary /   Ildikó Sz. Kristóf    He was born in 1794, and was educated in the College of Sárospatak, a Protestant academy located in North-Eastern Hungary. During the period denominated the  Age of Reform  (which lasted approximately from the beginning of the 1820s until the revolution of 1848 6 ) Almási Balogh served as private physician to the two leaders of the Hungarian anti-Habsburg movement: Count István Széchenyi and Lajos Kossuth. As for his political views, he seems to have been an early liberal thinker and an anti-monarchist, who was active, however, more in the field of science than that of high politics. It is important for understanding the genesis of the manuscript that one of Almási Balogh’s dreams was to create an independent institution for the sciences in Hungary, that is, one that was independent from Austria, the Habsburg rulers, an idea he shared with many of his contemporaries, both nobles and bourgeois. He  worked tirelessly on how the structure of the sciences cultivated in his country should look like, and he took pains indeed to realize his projects during his long life. In 1837 he became editor (and also a contributing author) of a new Hungarian periodical called Tudománytár  (  Store of sciences ), published by the Hungarian Society of Scientists, institution founded in 1825 that was the predecessor (as well as the contemporary equivalent) of the Hungarian  Academy of Sciences. It is also notable that, with the explicit intention of learning and making contacts with renowned foreign scholars, Almási Balogh made two longer study trips in Western Europe before his death in 1867. In 1825 he travelled to (and throughout) Germany. Among other cultural centers, he visited Weimar and the University of Göttingen, where he met both Johann Wolfgang  von Goethe and Johann Friedrich Blumenbach (1752-1840), the German founder of physical anthropology. In the year 1856 he spent several months in France and the United Kingdom, meeting, for example Étienne Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire (1772-1844), the French botanist, as well as other notable scientists of the age. His deep interest in the natural sciences is evidenced by the fact that it was he who published the most on the work of Alexander von Humboldt (1769-1859) and was later in charge of delivering the eulogy on the latter at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences on the occasion of his death in 1859.  Almási Balogh was also among the first Hungarians to read and popularize the early  works of Charles Darwin (1809-1882). 7  It seems thus that the author of the first Hungarian monographic writing representing the Australian absrcines was an exceptionally learned, scientifically active and curious student of natural history. Being one of the polyhistor scholars of his age, he could read and write in at least five different foreign languages: Latin, Italian, French, English, and German for certain, and perhaps also Greek and a bit of Hebrew, as was compulsory for the pupils of the Protestant college of Sárospatak at the time. His notes and files preserved in the special collections of the Library of Eötvös Loránd University themselves have been written in about six different languages (Hungarian plus five foreign languages). 8  The manuscript on Australia provides an excellent insight into the processes of scientific communication in the early 19 th  century and the interface among its different media and channels. It shows us how early ethnography compiled its discourse from a great number of diverse textual and, as it will be discussed later,  visual/figural sources, and how—and also for  what reasons— ethnographic descriptions at that time focused on the external   characteristics of human life and culture.  At the time of Almási Balogh the study of non-European native peoples and cultures was embedded mostly in the natural sciences. As,  while a student at Sárospatak, Almási Balogh attempted to set up a catalogue of all the sciences in 1815 for his own purpose, he did not use the terms “ethnography,” “ethnology,” or “anthropology” yet. Works containing descriptions of “alien” (that is, non-European)  ways of life were listed in his catalogue under subheadings like geography , statistics , accounts of travel  , and also natural history . The latter was represented there in plenty of its  various branches which have not yet been clearly delineated from one another, such as physics, zoology, botany, and also medicine. 9  It is, however, also found in some of the handwritten notes of our physician that a particular discourse regarding non-European indigenous peoples  was also about to emerge from that miscellaneous background of natural lore. It is exactly this that is attested by the manuscript on Australia. Let me quote its first 127  ♯ 5   segundo semestre 2014: 126-139   The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe – Hungary /   Ildikó Sz. Kristóf    paragraph:  An interesting, if not the most interesting, part of the natural history of the human race is the study of peoples that are on the lowest level of human culture. Man is seemingly close there to animals, from which he differs only in some specific features like his speech and his head lifted towards the sky. In him we find the human inclinations and passions in their clearest state, which  will then show themselves in multiple forms and shapes in social life, education, social relations and various other circumstances. 10   This paragraph, as well as the entire text, suggests that the main ethnographical/anthropological concepts of  Almási Balogh were embedded in the universalistic, linear and stadial   discourse of history, characteristic of the period of late Enlightenment and early Romanticism in Europe. Within that discourse, the Native was constructed most of all of its body and instincts . He (mostly he  and not she ) occupied the lowest stage of an imaginary social development consisting of three or four different stages (“savagery”, “barbarism”, “half-civilization”, “civilization”). According to this schema, the Native had the potential to develop and become, as it was envisioned, “social” or “socialized,” even though he could provide important lessons in his “savage” state, too, for the European scientist studying him. 11  The textual representation that Almási Balogh compiled on the natives of Australia was a hierarchizing and  barbarizing discourse in many respects, based on a simplifying and stereotyping description of the absrcines, and, as we will see soon more closely, founded to a certain extent on the visible characteristics of their way of life.  Where did this representation come from? Contrary to the great Western European travelers of the age of the Enlightenment and Romanticism who explored Oceania—such as George Anson (1697-1762), Louis Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811), James Cook (1728-1779), and the like 12 —Pál Almási Balogh was an armchair scholar. Beyond the two trips to Germany, France and England mentioned earlier, he never made any other longer  journeys. In particular, he never left Europe.  What he did, however, was collect books with a true passion. Apart from works on medicine and natural history, he gathered a magnificent collection of books on geography and travel in his private library, which was one of the richest at the time in all of Hungary. The exact number is not known, but, according to reliable estimates, it consisted of approximately 50.000  volumes. 13   As far as non-European indigenous people are concerned, Almási Balogh seemed not only to know about but he indeed experienced intensely the characteristic trope of (early) modern representations according to which reading was travelling and a way of communicating with the Other, and, vice versa, travelling and communicating with the Other could indeed be thought of, and “realized” as reading . 14  The archives of our physician are full of handwritten notes and half-ready, unpublished writings about diverse non-European indigenous peoples, from American Indians to Inuits, from  Arabs to Africans, from Chinese to Philippines, etc., all coming from, or based upon, books and periodicals that he read, borrowed, purchased, accumulated in his private library from his student years at Sárospatak through the end of his career as a physician in Pest. 15  His knowledge on Oceania and Australia itself seems to have srcinated in that stock of  written/printed material. In part, it came from scientific texts which were easily identifiable, since the time of Almási Balogh was also the time of the emergence of the specific requirements concerning scientific apparatus (proper citations, bibliographical references etc.). And Almási Balogh was indeed a serious, precise scholar providing exact and exhaustive references on his readings in his manuscript. But he also seems to have derived his knowledge from visual representations , an emerging scientific visuality in the field of anthropology during the late 18 th  and early 19 th  century—at least in terms of what his collection of books of natural history and travel mediated to him through their engravings, many of which were, again, identifiable. This ethnographical/anthropological visuality was related, among other non-European regions, to Oceania, and resulted both in stereotyped, Eurocentric images of the indigenous peoples there, and empirically oriented descriptions. 16   As for the textual sources of the monograph on  Australia, Almási Balogh drew on the most 128  ♯ 5   segundo semestre 2014: 126-139   The Representation of the Australian Absrcines in Text and Picture: Dr. Med. Pál Almási Balogh (1794-1863) and the Birth of the Science of Anthropology in Central Europe – Hungary /   Ildikó Sz. Kristóf    recent contemporary accounts made by Western  voyagers and scholars of the fifth continent. As the various inventories of his books attest, he had copies of many of those French and British  works in his private library. His ever favourite authors whom he cited the most in the manuscript were as follows. First of all, the monograph makes repreated mentions of certain “Quoy and Gaimard, famous students of nature” who, as Almási Balogh says, “many times saw the wild savages of Australia to devour the bowels of fish having been thrown away by the sailors,” and who found that “at the Bay of the Sea Dogs [la baie des Chiens-Marins]  both men and animals of all kinds living in that land are obliged to appease their thirst with sea  water.” 17  These two French scholars could be identified as the zoologist Jean René Constant Quoy (1790-1869) and the ship surgeon Joseph Paul Gaimard (1796-1858), who participated in two great expeditions around the world that touched Oceania, too. One of those journeys was made between 1817 and 1820 on board of the Uranie,  under the command of Captain Louis de Freycinet (1779-1841), while the other was realized between 1826 and 1829 on board of the  Astrolabe , under the command of Jules Dumont d’Urville (1790-1842). According to the inventory of his books, the private library of  Almási Balogh contained copies of the published material of both of those expeditions. One can even find an ex libris of our physician in one of the several volumes of the Freycinet expedition entitled Voyage autour du monde ,   published in Paris volume by volume from 1824 on . 18  In second place, the manuscript of Almási Balogh refers to a certain “Mr. Collins” many times. The account of the latter is cited, for example, in connection with an Australian absrcine called “Benilong,” whose specific  beliefs, several wives, and other “barbarian customs” are discussed, mentioning also his alleged trip to England. This author is no other than the English colonel David Collins (1756-1810), one of the founders of New South Wales, the first British colony created as a penal colony in Australia. Collins became the first governor of Tasmania and published an account of the British colonization of Australia between 1798 and 1802 in London. The two volumes of this  work were surely known to Almási Balogh either directly or through the mediation of some other texts, since certain paragraphs of Collins’  An  Account of the English Colony in New South Wales, with some Particulars of New Zealand  were cited in his manuscript. 19  On the other hand, the native called “Benilong” can be identified as Woollarawarre Bennelong (c. 1764-1813), a senior of the Eora absrcinal people,  who served as an interlocutor between the British and his people and did indeed travel to the United Kingdom in 1792 . In third place, the manuscript on Australia draws on accounts by a certain “Barrington” as  well, whose descriptions serve as a source of data on the absrcines’ love ritual and their  beliefs in spirits and ghosts. It also includes a longer “anecdote” concerning the rites of marriage of the natives, which is based on the  writings of the same person. This author can be identified beyond doubt as George Barrington (1755-1804), a pickpocket of Irish srcin who arrived in Australia on a penal transport, and  who himself wrote a history of the British colonization of the southern continent, as well as a more personal story of his own arrival there. The volumes of his Voyage to New South Wales  were published between 1795 and 1801, and then from 1802 in London. Although historians are divided in their opinion as to the authenticity of Barrington’s writings, what is important from our point of view is that Almási Balogh knew the works of this author either directly or, like those of Collins mentioned above, through the mediation of some other  writings. 20  In fourth place, a certain “Cuningham, botanist of Sydney” is also mentioned in the manuscript.  Almási Balogh excerpted from his work especially native beliefs concerning spirits and ghosts living in the waters and in the land (e.g. in caves), as well as beliefs relating to rituals in connection with thunder and lightning. This author can be identified as Allan Cunningham (1791-1839), a Scottish botanist and explorer,  who studied especially the flora of Australia, and published several works on this topic during the 1820s and 1830s in London. I could not, however, establish as yet which of Cunningham’s writings Almási Balogh had relied on. It is also a question, just like in the former cases, whether he had consulted those texts in their srcinal edition, or perhaps as citations, extracts, references etc. embedded in some other texts. 129
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