Unsettled Narratives

Unsettled Narratives : The Pacific Writings of Stevenson, Ellis, Melville and London

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In the nineteenth-century Pacific, the production of a text of encounter occurred in tandem with the production of a settled space; asserting settler presence through the control of the space and the context of the encounter. Indigenous resistance therefore took place through modes of representation that `unsettled' the text. This book considers the work of four Western visitors to the Pacific-Robert Louis Stevenson, William Ellis, Herman Melville, and Jack London-and the consequences for the written text and the experience of cross-cultural encounter when encounter is reduced to writing. The study proposes a strong connection between settling and writing as assertions of presence, and, by engaging a metaphor of building dwellings and building texts, the study examines how each writer manipulates the process of text creation to assert a dominant presence over and against the indigenous presence, which is represented as threatening, and extra-textual.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 20mm | 425.99g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1138813931
  • 9781138813939

Table of contents

Acknowledgments. Introduction: The Written Pacific 1. 'Talk Languished on the Beach': The Possibility of Reciprocity in Robert Louis Stevenson's In the South Seas 2. 'These Words are so Changed in a Native's Mouth': Contested Frames in William Ellis's Polynesian Researches 3. 'Typee or Happar?': The Unsettling Narrative of Typee 4. 'This is the Book I Write': Jack London's Strictly Limited Body Conclusion: Ambivalence and Authorship. Notes. Works Cited. Index
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