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This book relies on the early accounts of discovery and at the same time addresses the problems with knowing the history of a people from the eyes of the explorers and colonizers. Sadly, as this reading list will attest, much of what we know in the West about Tahiti and its neighboring islands is from a Eurocentric view point. Still, a reviewer from the Geographical Review wrote that Ferdon provided a “panoramic and sometimes precise view of early Tahitian lifestyle.”
Exploration and discovery from the Russian perspective: Two ships set sail from Russia, the Nadezhda and the Neva, for a voyage around the worl to carry out scientific exploration and collect artifacts for Alexander I's ethnographical museum in St. Petersburg. Newell presents an account of the voyage with detail of the events of the voyagers' stay in French Polynesia.
Call Number: University Museum Library DU701.N8 G68 2010
Publication Date: 2010
More on the fateful voyage of the Russian ships Nadezhda and the Neva. Twelve Days at Nuku Hiva focuses on a mutiny as well as first person accounts of Russian encounters with the Nuka Hivan population. Govor looks to the writings of the ships' captains, the resident naturalist, and also the writings from fellow voyagers from Russia, Germany and Japan. Gover also looks to the Nuku Hivan perspective represented through their early interpreters, as well as evidence taken from the present day Nuka Hivan myth surrounding the Russian visit.
Attempting to see beyond the largerly Western interpretation the islands, Miriam Kahn goes beyond the Tahiti of the tourism industry in her study. This is indeed a darker side and includes the history of nuclear weapon development and its consequences the physical and emotional well being of French Polynesians, but also presents a three dimensional view of the people and their lives in the 20th century.
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.”
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.
James Morrison survived to tell the tale of the mutiny on the Bounty. Besides providing a narrative of the events of the famed mutiny, Morrison recounts his life living with the Tahitians. His observations are more those of an adopted insider and predate introductions of Western religious and societal practices. The editors claim that Morrison's is "the most insightful and wide-ranging of early European accounts of Tahitian life." The editors provide additional information regarding the place names and individuals Morrison records into this account.
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
This book presents Gauguin's somewhat fictionalized diary of his experiences in Tahiti, which he illustrated with a series of ten woodprints. The journal and woodprints are the focus of Wright and Brown's study of Gauguin and his art, its meaning and sources of inspiration.
'Whetu Moana' is the first anthology of contemporary indigenous Polynesian poetry to be written in English and edited by Polynesians. The three editors, Robert Sullivan and Reina Whaitiri (who are Maori) and Albert Wendt (who is Samoan) are all known for both their own creative writing and their academic study of Pacific and Polynesian literatures. The collection includes many well-known poets . . . and reveals an active, varied and creative scene which confronts both a complex colonial past and a contemporary global present. From the Publisher.
If Mutiny on the Bounty doesn't fill your need to indulge in literary iconology, Melville's South Sea trio of ocean going romances should fully satisfy such a need. The edition noted here is the first volume of The Library of America's three-volume edition of the complete prose works of Herman Melville. Typee and Omoo are based on a young Melville's experiences whaling and present a much more bucolic view of the sea going life than does Moby Dick. The third romance, Mardi ("the world" in Polynesian), set on a mythical Polynesian island, leans more toward the darker vision represented in Melville's later masterpiece. If you are ready to be immersed, dive in.
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.