Interpreters, Guides, and Survivors
Spanning the globe and the centuries, Frances Karttunen tells the stories of sixteen men and women who served as interpreters and guides to conquerors, missionaries, explorers, soldiers, and anthropologists. These interpreters acted as uncomfortable bridges between two worlds; their own marginality, the fact that they belonged to neither world, suggests the complexity and tension between cultures meeting for the first time. Some of the guides were literally dragged into their roles; others volunteered. The most famous ones were especially skilled at living in two worlds and surviving to recount their experiences. Among outsiders, the interpreters found protection. sustenance, recognition, intellectual companionship, and employment, yet most of the interpreters ultimately suffered tragic fates. Between Worlds addresses the broadest issues of cross-cultural encounters, imperialism, and capitalism and gives them a human face.