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Exploration and Exchange

A South Seas Anthology, 1680-1900

"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.

359 pages | 13 halftones, 2 maps | 6 x 9 | © 2001

Asian Studies: Southeast Asia and Australia

History: Asian History, Discoveries and Exploration

Literature and Literary Criticism: American and Canadian Literature, British and Irish Literature

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgments
Part I: Adventures and Explorers
1. The Discover of New Holland - William Dampier
2. Lionel Wafer Crosses Darien - Lionel Wafer
3. Richard Simson at Juan Fernandez - Richard Simson
4. Commodore Anson Lands at Juan Fernandez - George Anson
5. Byron and the Patagonian Giants - John Byron
6. The Discovery of Tahiti - Samuel Wallis
7. The Unfortunate Compiler - James Cook, Joseph Banks, and John Hawkesworth
8. Providential Cannibalism - Johann Reinbold Forster
9. William Wales Makes Observations - William Wales
10. Benevolence on the Beach - George Keate
Part II: Beachcombers and Missionaries
11. Resident Observer - James Morrison
12. The Brethren and the "Tayos" - William Wilson
13. Falling from Grace - George Vason
14. A Stranger in a Strange Country - Edward Robarts
15. The Violence of the Beach - Samuel Patterson and Richard Siddons
16. Missiles and Missives - William Mariner
17. Unutterable Practices - William Ellis
18. Property and Providence - John Williams
19. Tapu and Conceit in the Marquesas - David Darling
20. Philanthropic Sympathy and the Interests of Commerce - Abby Jane Morrell
21. Among the Cannibals - Mary Wallis
22. Tapa and Muru in New Zealand - Frederick Maning
Part III: Literary Travelers
23. A Yankee at the Court of Captain Cook - Mark Twain
24. Quite Alone in a Mountain Village - Constance F. Gordon-Cumming
25. Belated First Contact - Robert Louis Stevenson
26. Cannibal Fashions - Fanny van der Grift Stevenson
27. "That Link of History" - Henry Adams/Ari’i Taimai
28. The Ebbing of the Tide - Louis Becke

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