Tattooing the World: Pacific Designs in Print and Skin [NOOK Book]

Overview


In the 1830s an Irishman named James F. O'Connell acquired a full-body tattoo while living as a castaway in the Pacific. The tattoo featured traditional patterns that, to native Pohnpeians, defined O'Connell's life; they made him wholly human. Yet upon traveling to New York, these markings singled him out as a freak. His tattoos frightened women and children, and ministers warned their congregations that viewing O'Connell's markings would cause the ink to transfer to the skin of their unborn children. In many ...

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Tattooing the World: Pacific Designs in Print and Skin

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Overview


In the 1830s an Irishman named James F. O'Connell acquired a full-body tattoo while living as a castaway in the Pacific. The tattoo featured traditional patterns that, to native Pohnpeians, defined O'Connell's life; they made him wholly human. Yet upon traveling to New York, these markings singled him out as a freak. His tattoos frightened women and children, and ministers warned their congregations that viewing O'Connell's markings would cause the ink to transfer to the skin of their unborn children. In many ways, O'Connell's story exemplifies the unique history of the modern tattoo, which began in the Pacific and then spread throughout the world. No matter what form it has taken, the tattoo has always embodied social standing, aesthetics, ethics, culture, gender, and sexuality. Tattoos are personal and corporate, private and public. They mark the profane and the sacred, the extravagant and the essential, the playful and the political. From the Pacific islands to the world at large, tattoos are a symbolic and often provocative form of expression and communication.

Tattooing the World is the first book on tattoo literature and culture. Juniper Ellis traces the origins and significance of modern tattoo in the works of nineteenth- and twentieth-century artists, travelers, missionaries, scientists, and such writers as Herman Melville, Margaret Mead, Albert Wendt, and Sia Figiel. Traditional Pacific tattoo patterns are formed using an array of well-defined motifs. They place the individual in a particular community and often convey genealogy and ideas of the sacred. However, outside of the Pacific, those who wear and view tattoos determine their meaning and interpret their design differently. Reading indigenous historiography alongside Western travelogue and other writings, Ellis paints a surprising portrait of how culture has been etched both on the human form and on a body of literature.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Post - Billy Heller

This fascinating book traces the culture and literature surrounding the curious art that uses skin as a canvas.

Irish Voice - Cahir O'Doherty

[A] scholarly and beautifully written book.

M/C Reviews - Vivienne Muller

Richly layered and meticulously researched

New York Post
This fascinating book traces the culture and literature surrounding the curious art that uses skin as a canvas.

— Billy Heller

Irish Voice
[A] scholarly and beautifully written book.

— Cahir O'Doherty

Baltimore City Paper

Best New Book by a Local Author

M/C Reviews
Richly layered and meticulously researched

— Vivienne Muller

Pacific Affairs

This brilliant, wide-ranging study deserves careful reading.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231513104
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 6/19/2012
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 304
  • File size: 27 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author


Juniper Ellis is an associate professor of English at Loyola College in Maryland, teaching Maori, Pacific Islands, and US literature. Her research for this book was made possible by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Fulbright Foundation, and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     vii
Acknowledgments     ix
A Note About Pacific Languages     xi
Introduction: Living Scripts, Texts, Strategies     1
Tatau and Malu: Vital Signs in Contemporary Samoan Literature     32
"The Original Queequeg"? Te Pehi Kupe   Toi Moko   Moby-Dick     52
Another Aesthetic: Beauty and Morality in Facial Tattoo     74
Marked Ethics: Erasing and Restoring the Tattoo     96
Locating the Sign: Visible Culture     133
Transfer of Desire: Engendering Sexuality     162
Epilogue: The Question of Belonging     193
Notes     205
Bibliography     245
Index     261
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