Vol. 66 No. 3 (2018)

Rethinking Corpus Christi

Published 2018-07-03


  • Ursula K. Le Guin,
  • literary onomastics,
  • names in science fiction and fantasy,
  • Sigmund Freud, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious


Corpus Christi Bay was named by Spanish or French explorers in honor of the liturgical feast day of Corpus Christi on which the region was initially encountered during the sixteenth century. But the inland Corpus Christi, now the eighth largest city in Texas, did not come about and was not named until much later, during the 1840s. The standard assumption, that Corpus Christi is a toponym derived from Spanish (or French) colonial history should be reconsidered. The creation and naming of a place called Corpus Christi offers some fascinating insights into anxieties about religion, race and national identity during a critical period of nineteenth century US expansion.


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