By Professor Jeffrey A. Geiger
The long-lasting acclaim for Polynesia in western literature, artwork, and picture attests to the pleasures that Pacific islands have, over the centuries, afforded the eating gaze of the west--connoting solitude, liberate from cares, and, extra lately, renewal from urbanized smooth lifestyles. dealing with the Pacific is the 1st examine to provide a close examine the United States' extreme engagement with the parable of the South Seas simply after the First global warfare, whilst, at domestic, a favored style for all issues Polynesian looked as if it would echo the growth of U.S. imperialist actions overseas. Jeffrey Geiger appears to be like at a number of texts that helped to invent a imaginative and prescient of Polynesia for U.S. audiences, concentrating on a bunch of writers and filmmakers whose mutual fascination with the South Pacific drew them together--and could finally force a few of them aside. every one had a long-lasting effect on U.S. conceptions of the Pacific through the Nineteen Twenties and early Nineteen Thirties. this era of dramatic monetary restoration, growth, and downfall additionally witnessed a problem in American subjectivity, while the U.S. used to be preoccupied with swiftly transferring notions of race, gender, and nationwide belonging.Key figures mentioned during this quantity are Frederick O'Brien, writer of the bestseller White Shadows within the South Seas; filmmaker Robert Flaherty and his spouse, Frances Hubbard Flaherty, who collaborated on Moana; director W. S. Van Dyke, who labored with Robert Flaherty on MGM's version of White Shadows; and Expressionist director F. W. Murnau, whose final movie, Tabu, was once co-directed with Flaherty. even supposing those texts will be visible as engaging within the lengthy culture of western mythmaking approximately Polynesia, Geiger builds at the premise that even texts embedded in imperial discourses may be visible as multifaceted and risky, and infrequently demonstrate the complicated and self-divided methods of empire building.Combining unique analyses with an exceptional seize of correct scholarship, Geiger examines the content material and contexts of those works, considering U.S. expansionist ideologies and renewed frontier anxieties of the Nineteen Twenties, the increase of cultural anthropology and relativism, and the uncertainties that haunted a collective feel of contemporary American identification and nationhood. finally, those readings recommend that visions of Polynesia will help to reveal the contradictions and ambivalences on the center of U.S. imperialist imaginings.
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Additional info for Facing the Pacific: Polynesia and the U.S. Imperial Imagination
Porter praises Tei‘i, Hapa‘a, and then Taipi nobilities each in turn; even while battling them he professes love and admiration for his Marquesan enemies: I am inclined to believe that a more honest, or friendly and better disposed people does not exist under the sun. They have been stigmatized by the name savages; it is 40 Chapter 1 a term wrongly applied; they rank high in the scale of human beings, whether we consider them morally, or physically. We find them brave, generous, honest, and benevolent, acute, ingenious, and intelligent, and the beauty, the regular proportions of their bodies, correspond with the perfections of their minds.
A party arrives in a double canoe; cloths are laid on the ground, after which the foremost of the women, who seemd to be the principal, then stepd upon them and quickly unveiling all her charms gave me a most convenient opportunity of admiring them by turning herself gradualy round: 3 peices more [of cloth] were The Garden and the Wilderness 25 laid and she repeated her part of the ceremony: the other three were then laid which made a treble covering of the ground between her and me, she then once more displayd her naked beauties and immediately marchd up to me.
13 New Cythera, it would seem, needed a Minerva less to offer protection from itself than to protect it from the assaults of others. 14 Accompanying Cook was the natural historian and Fellow of the Royal Society Joseph Banks, whose Tahitian journal Cook would closely shadow in modeling his own account. Banks begins documenting the visit with the famous entry of 13 April, comparing Tahiti to Arcadia. Tahiti appears as an ordered, civil society, and within a day he is putting forward cultural comparisons reminiscent of Rousseau, concluding that Tahitians act in ways “at least equal to any we had seen in civilizd countries” (14 April).