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Alumni Travel Reading 2018-2019: Tahiti and French Polynesia


Four cyclicsts biking terrain with mountain in background

Mountain Biking at Belvedere, Moorea, Tahiti, by Patty Mooney

Polynesian Tiki

Wooden Polynesian tiki statue

North meets South, by Pierre Lesage

Captain Cook: Obsession and Discovery (Film, 2014)

Extract of Description from Franklin: “James Cook Geographer, historical consultant and bestselling author Vanessa Collingridge searches for the man behind the legend as she traces his story in a series that is part biography, part travelogue and completely enthralling. A hero to some, a villain to others, this son of an English farm labourer described more of the globe than any other man in three incredible voyages. Discover the man and his times. Step back into the 18th century to experience what it was like to navigate uncharted and unknown waters in search of a legendary Great Southern Continent and then a Northwest Passage through the Arctic ice; as well as to be among the first Europeans to visit exotic Pacific islands like Tahiti.”

Available from Amazon and other video retailers 

Tahiti and French Polynesia

Hotel rooms on shallow water with thatched roofs

Tahiti - Moorea Hôtel Sofitel, by severine vaselli

Selected and Annotated by Rebecca Stuhr 
Revised and updated by Vickie Karasic, Bibliographer for French and Francophone Literature
vkarasic @

For more information about this and other excursions, visit the Penn Alumni Travel Website.

Mutiny on the Bounty

For full review visit Filmsite Movie Review of Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

Movie poster for Mutiny on the Bounty

Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) is one of the best nautical adventure films of all time and one of MGM's greatest classics. The rousing, 18th century story of the Bounty's mutiny, directed by Frank Lloyd, was adapted from the first two volumes of the Charles Nordhoff-James Norman Hall 1932 best selling novel The Bounty Trilogy (composed of Mutiny on the Bounty, Men Against the Sea, and Pitcairn Island). It echoed the semi-documentary In the Wake of the Bounty (1933, Australia) which starred Errol Flynn in his movie debut as Fletcher Christian; both films were based upon the 1932 novel Mutiny on the Bounty by Nordoff and Hall.



Map of the Islands

Map of Tahiti and neighboring islands

Courtesy of Tahiti Tourism North America

For more maps and information visit Tahiti Tourism North America site. Although it is a very commercial Web site—It  provides a brief overview of island history and geography and, perhaps more interestingly, maps for each of the islands along with photo galleries

Explore Breathtaking Wildlife

Two fish swimming in coral reef

Bora Bora Under Water, by Lele

Island Flora

Also available through Permanent link for the book: or

Some Tropical South Pacific Island Foods: Description, History, Use, Composition, and Nutritive Value by Mary Murai, et al. Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, [1958]


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Art, Fiction, Culture

The Marriage of Loti (Rarhu), by Pierre Loti (1880)

Pierre Loti, a pen name for Julien Viaud, was one of several French writers in the late-19th century who wrote about the “exotic” locales they traveled to. This autobiographical novel tells Loti’s story of falling in love with a Tahitian woman while traveling as a French naval officer. Loti participates in an era of fin-de-siècle French literature that exoticized the East, as well as French colonial outputs.

Available through HathiTrust:

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