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Posted July 18, 2014
As someone very interested in Polynesia, at the time of European contact, this book is a fascinating view at a Marquesan society barely in touch with the European whalers, adventurers and missionaries who had landed on the shores of this archipelago. As is well known, Melville is a wonderful writer and a very careful observer. Even though some parts of his narrative are fiction, his description of Marquesan life in the 1840's is very credible in light of what is now known about Polynesians at that time. While his language abounds in the ethnocentric vernacular of that time, he gives his native captors and usually gracious hosts, as well as their way of life, the respect they were due. Typee is rightfully considered a classic in literature on the South Pacific, as is it's sequel, Omoo, on Tahiti. I highly recommend both books.
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