Strangers in the South Seas: The Idea of the Pacific in Western Thought : an Anthology

Front Cover
Richard Lansdown
University of Hawaii Press, Jan 1, 2006 - Travel - 429 pages
Long before Magellan entered the Pacific in 1521 Westerners entertained ideas of undiscovered oceans, mighty continents, and paradisal islands at the far ends of the earth-such ideas would have a long life and a deep impact in both the Pacific and the West. With the discovery of Tahiti in 1767 another powerful myth was added to this collection: the noble savage. For the first time Westerners were confronted by a people who seemed happier than themselves. This revolution in the human sciences was accompanied by one in the natural sciences after Darwin's momentous visit to the Galapagos Islands. The Pacific produced other challenges for nineteenth-century researchers on race and culture, and for those intent on exporting their religions to this immense quarter of the globe. As the century wore on, the region presented opportunities and dilemmas for the imperial powers, a process was accelerated by the Pacific War between 1941 and 1945. Strangers in the South Seas recounts and illustrates this story using a wealth of primary texts. It includes generous excerpts from the work of explorers, soldiers, naturalists, anthropologists, artists, and writers--some famous, some obscure. It shows how "the Great South Sea" has been an irreplaceable "distant mirror" of the West and its intellectual obsessions since the Renaissance.

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Contents

The Island as Eldorado and
29
The Noble Savage
64
Dark Parts of the Earth
110
The Island as Crucible
150
How Many Adams Must We Admit?
192
The Island as Colony
231
Anthropometry Ethnology Relativism
275
Anthropological
289
A W Monckton Some Experiences of
329
Norman Mailer The Naked and the Dead 1948
338
E B Sledge With the Old Breed at Peleliu and Okinawa 1980
346
Nancy Phelan Pieces of Heaven 1996
355
Disillusion
363
Travels in the Pacific 1992
398
Larry McMurtry Paradise 2001
406
Sources
413

The Colonial Interregnum and
319
Index
427

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