the contemporary pacific · 19:2 (2007) Lyons's book provides a useful genealogy of the Pacific insofar as it has been inscribed in the masculine US imagination by armchair travelers, tourists, colonists, naval officers, and seamen. Even those well versed in the literary production of the American Pacific will find the list of authors considered here to be vast, underlining how the formulation of US literature was so dependent on Oceanic contexts. The writers addressed in this study include Henry James, Edgar Allan Poe, James Fenimore Cooper, Charles Wilkes, Herman Melville, Robert Dean Frisbie, A Grove Day, James Warren Stoddard, Frederick O'Brien, James Michener, and many others. The chapters are organized in chronological order, beginning with a nineteenthcentury genealogy of the American Pacific archive. Lyons adopts Edward Said's well-known concept of "Orientalism" to interrogate the US discursive construction of Oceania, an "American Pacificism." While drawing attention to the ways in which each generation of writers drew heavily from its precursors, Lyons also outlines how national, material, commercial, and social demands shifted over time and thus impacted how Pacificism has been inscribed. These are complex and often paradoxical representations, which may combine on the one hand a "nationalistic stepping-stone narrative"
The Contemporary Pacific – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Aug 13, 2007