Exploration and Exchange: A South Seas Anthology, 1680-1900 / Edition 2

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"As my sense of the turpitude and guilt of sin was weakened, the vices of the natives appeared less odious and criminal. After a time, I was induced to yield to their allurements, to imitate their manners, and to join them in their sins . . . and it was not long ere I disencumbered myself of my European garment, and contented myself with the native dress. . . ."—from Narrative of the late George Vason, of Nottingham

As George Vason's anguished narrative shows, European encounters with Pacific peoples often proved as wrenching to the Europeans as to the natives. This anthology gathers some of the most vivid accounts of these cultural exchanges for the first time, placing the works of well-known figures such as Captain James Cook and Robert Louis Stevenson alongside the writings of lesser-known explorers, missionaries, beachcombers, and literary travelers who roamed the South Seas from the late seventeenth through the late nineteenth centuries.
Here we discover the stories of the British buccaneers and privateers who were lured to the Pacific by stories of fabulous wealth; of the scientists, cartographers, and natural historians who tried to fit the missing bits of terra incognita into a universal scheme of knowledge; and of the varied settlers who established a permanent European presence in Polynesia and Australia. Through their detailed commentary on each piece and their choice of selections, the editors—all respected scholars of the literature and cultures of the Pacific—emphasize the mutuality of impact of these colonial encounters and the continuity of Pacific cultures that still have the power to transform visitors today.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
University professors from America, England, and Australia, the editors of this fascinating collection of travel and exploration narratives state early on that their book "is intended to serve as a resource to enable teachers and students to engage with primary materials, some of which are otherwise difficult to obtain." Fortunately, for those not in pursuit of scholarship, this work offers an interesting overview of British and American experiences in the Pacific from the 17th to the 19th centuries. Some of the narratives come from familiar chroniclers, e.g., Captain Cook, Mark Twain, and Robert Louis Stevenson, but most are from the bold souls who set forth to Oceania as mariners, missionaries, and explorers. All the ingredients for high adventure are present: shipwrecks, mutiny, cannibalism, Christian conversions, trade, and the lure of wealth. However, the abundance of anthropological observation is inevitably colored by the constraints of Western civilization. An extensive bibliography is also included, but period illustrations are sparse. Recommended for large public and academic libraries.--Janet Ross, Sparks Branch Lib., NV Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226468464
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 2/1/2001
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 359
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Jonathan Lamb is a professor of English at Princeton University. He is the author, most recently, of The Rhetoric of Suffering and coeditor of Voyages and Beaches: Pacific Encounters, 1769-1840.

Vanessa Smith is a research fellow at King's College, Cambridge University. She is the author of Literary Culture and the Pacific: Nineteenth-Century Textual Encounters.

Nicholas Thomas is a professor of anthropology at the Australian National University and the director of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research in Canberra. He is the author of, among others, Possessions: Indigenous Art/Colonial Culture and In Oceania: Visions, Artifacts, Histories, and coauthor of Bad Colonists: The South Seas Letters of Vernon Lee Walker and Louis Becke.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Pt. I Adventurers & Explorers 1
1 The Discovery of New Holland 9
2 Lionel Wafer Crosses Darien 15
3 Richard Simson at Juan Fernandez 30
4 Commodore Anson Lands at Juan Fernandez 38
5 Byron and the Patagonian Giants 46
6 The Discovery of Tahiti 57
7 The Unfortunate Compiler 73
8 Providential Cannibalism 92
9 William Wales Makes Observations 99
10 Benevolence on the Beach 112
11 Resident Observer 123
12 The Brethren and the "Tayos" 139
13 Falling from Grace 156
14 A Stranger in a Strange Country 170
15 The Violence of the Beach 180
16 Missiles and Missives 191
17 Unutterable Practices 205
18 Property and Providence 218
19 Tapu and Conceit in the Marquesas 233
20 Philanthropic Sympathy and the Interests of Commerce 244
21 Among the Cannibals 256
22 Tapa and Muru in New Zealand 263
23 A Yankee at the Court of Captain Cook 275
24 Quite Alone in a Mountain Village 292
25 Belated First Contact 299
26 Cannibal Fashions 311
27 "That Link of History" 317
28 The Ebbing of the Tide 327
Bibliography 335
Index 347
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