Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781780233468 Published December 2014 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.


Nature and Culture

Stephen A. Royle


Stephen A. Royle

Distributed for Reaktion Books

224 pages | 70 color plates, 30 halftones | 5 4/5 x 8 1/4 | © 2014
Paper $24.95 ISBN: 9781780233468 Published December 2014 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $24.95 ISBN: 9781780234014 Published August 2014
From Charles Darwin’s enlightening voyage to the Galapagos Islands to moat-encased prisons incarcerating the world’s deadliest prisoners, islands have been sites of immense scientific, political, and creative importance. An inspiration for artists and writers, they can be lively centers of holiday revelry or remote, mysterious spots; places of escape or of exile and imprisonment. In this cultural and scientific history of these alluring, isolated territories, Stephen A. Royle describes the great variety of islands, their economies, and the animals, plants, and people who thrive on them.
Royle shows that despite the view of some islands as earthly paradises, they are often beset by severe limitations in both resources and opportunities. Detailing the population loss many islands have faced in recent years, he considers how islanders have developed their homes into tourist destinations in order to combat economic instability. He also explores their exotic, otherworldly beauty and the ways they have provided both refuge and inspiration for artists, such as Paul Gauguin in Tahiti and George Orwell on the Scottish island of Jura. Filled with illustrations, Islands is a compelling and comprehensive survey of the geographical and cultural aspects of island life.

1. Islands: Definition and Formation

2. Island Characteristics

3. Island Identity, Mythology, Religion and Customary Practices

4. The Island as Laboratory

5. Island Literature

6. Islands: Visual Arts and Film, Television and Radio

7. Popular Culture: Islands and Tourism

Appendix: 100 Islands (Including Australia)


Select Bibliography

Island Resources and Websites


Photo Acknowledgements


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