Marquesan Encounters

By T. Walter Herbert Jr.,

Book cover of Marquesan Encounters: Melville and the Meaning of Civilization

Book description

1980 Hardcover. No dust jacket. Minimal wear, otherwise nice clean readable copy.

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Why read it?

1 author picked Marquesan Encounters as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

In past and present narratives of the Marquesas, along with other Pacific paradises, writers tend toward sensational or romantic exaggeration. T. Walter Herbert sets the record straight, showing what Melville likely encountered during his sojourn to Nukuhiva. In Herbert’s book, Melville is one of three examples of visitors to the islands, along with ship’s captain David Porter, whose narrative describes his laying violent waste to villages in the interior, and missionary William Alexander. Herbert shows what these visitors misunderstood about people characterized as “savages” and “barbarians”—readings that continue to influence cultural attitudes today. No one writes with quite the controlled…

From Wyn and Christopher's list on understanding Herman Melville’s itch for adventure.

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