Noble savage / Noble savage in literature (revision)

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  1. Revise:

sh85092148: Noble savage

CHANGE 150: Noble savage stereotype

ADD 450: $w nne $a Noble savage

ADD 450 $a

550 $w g $a Ethnology $x Philosophy

REMOVE 550 $w g $a Primitivism in literature

ADD 550 $w g $a Primitivism

ADD 550: $w g $a Stereotypes (Social psychology)

ADD 670: Ellingson, Ter. Myth of the noble savage, 2001 $w (OCoLC)906845168

ADD 670: Rowland, M.J. “Return of the ‘noble savage’: misrepresenting the past, present and future.” Australian Aboriginal studies, vol. 2004, no. 2, 2004, via WWW, viewed August 10, 2020: $b (‘noble savage’ stereotype ; stereotypes of the ‘noble savage’ or ‘ecologically noble savage’ can in fact serve to oppress indigenous peoples; myth of the ‘noble savage’; noble savage myth)

Add 670: Wikipedia, viewed September 14, 2020: $b (noble savage; literary stock character who embodies the concept of the indigene, outsider, wild human, an “other” who has not been “corrupted” by civilization, and therefore symbolizes humanity’s innate goodness. Besides appearing in many works of fiction and philosophy, the stereotype was also heavily employed in early anthropological works. The “noble savage” often maps to uncorrupted races in science fiction and fantasy genres.)

Add 680 $i Here are entered works on …

2. Revise:

sh94006954: Noble savage in literature

CHANGE 150: Noble savage stereotype in literature

ADD 450: $w nne $a Noble savage

ADD 550: $a Indigenous peoples in literature

ADD 550:  $w g $a Primitivism in literature


This is based on a thread on DCRM-L, August 7, 2020 under subject “Help with problem subject heading.” and a discussion on the Troublesome Catalogers Facebook group.  Most other named stock character types or stereotypes like this that I can think of don’t seem to be established in LCSH, and these two don’t have any source citations (670s) in the LCSH records to support them. Recent editorial decisions rejecting the proposed headings Toxic masculinity and White fragility suggest that not all named concepts in common usage related to traits ascribed to groups of people are appropriate for LCSH, but a couple of named stereotypes have been established: (Strong black woman stereotype; Model minority stereotype).

So, perhaps entirely different terminology could replace this phrase, or these terms can be cancelled and replaced with some combination of existing LCSH(s) that convey the concept, e.g. Indigenous peoples, and Stereotypes (Social psychology). Or, if there is remaining literary warrant for these terms as established, I wonder if some combination of the following might at least help contextualize the terms:

  1. Revise the 150s to identify “Noble savage” as a stereotype more explicitly, using a few existing LCSH as a pattern (Strong black woman stereotype; Model minority stereotype). (Add those to the proposal as 952 LC Pattern?) Another possible model is the equivalent term in the French authority file which includes a parenthetical qualifier: Bon sauvage (philosophie). 
  2.  Add 670 citations to support usage/literary warrant and provide context
  3.  Add 680 Scope note?
  4.  Add 450 $w nne for the former terms.
  5. Add 550 RT/BTs to contextualize these in relation to other headings about stereotypes, indigenous peoples, etc.
  6.  It also seems the BT Primitivism in literature on Noble savage applies better as a BT for Noble savage in literature and maybe could be moved there and replaced with the BT Primitivism. Since, like most stereotypes/tropes, they exist outside of literature as a stereotype in art, motion pictures, television, etc., and also as an anthropological/sociological concept and a prejudice held and experienced by people in the real world.  Or else, remove these references entirely and/or revise those terms as well (see next point).
  7. Maybe relate or combine with this revision proposal for Primitive societies, and related terms, and/or also revise Primitivism and Primitivism in literature, and adjust the 550s above accordingly?
  8. Does this account for identified usage of this trope in literature, film, etc. depicting extra-terrestrials, non-human beings, etc. in this fashion? (


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