When Louis Antoine de Bougainville reached Tahiti in 1768 he was struck by the way in which 'all these people came crying out tayo, which means friend, and gave a thousand signs of friendship; they all asked nails and ear-rings of us'.
Reading the archive of early contact in Oceania against European traditions of thinking about intimacy and exchange, Vanessa Smith illuminates the traditions and desires that led de Bougainville and other European voyagers consistently to believe that the first word they heard in the Pacific was the word for friendship.
Her book encompasses forty years of encounter from the arrival of the Dolphin in Tahiti in June 1767, through Cook's and Bligh's voyages, to early missionary and beachcomber settlement in the Marquesas.
It unpacks both the political and emotional significances of ideas of friendship for late eighteenth-century European, and particularly British, explorations of Oceania.
About the Author
Vanessa Smith teaches in the Department of English at the University of Sydney. She is the author of Literary Culture and the Pacific : Nineteenth-Century Textual Encounters (1998) and co-editor of Exploration and Exchange : A South Seas Anthology 1680-1900 (2000) and Islands in History and Representation (2003).
"Friendship' looms large in stories of early encounters in the Pacific, but up until now has been unanalysed, and seemed unanalysable. This is a genuinely cross-disciplinary study, animated by an impressive understanding of anthropological sources and early voyage texts; it gives us a fresh understanding of foundational moments in the modern history of empire and global interaction.' Nicholas Thomas, University of Cambridge 'Drawing on an exceptionally wide range of recent and historical sources this richly interdisciplinary book explores the meanings of friendship in the Pacific in a series of lively and lucidly argued studies. Smith's challenging case for the centrality of personal emotional commerce to early European interactions in the Pacific islands is an important and exciting contribution to Empire studies.' Harriet Guest, University of York '... a breathtaking and inspiring work ...' History Australia '... a bold and welcome contribution ...' American Historical Review '... an invaluable reflection on the meanings of friendship ...' Pacific Affairs '... an interdisciplinary and multinuanced exercise that does much to move our understanding of European encounters ... into hitherto neglected areas ...' Journal of Early Modern History '... inspiring in the range of its insight, and has the potential to reconfigure the way we approach the history of encounters ...' International Journal of Maritime History
Series: Critical Perspectives on Empire
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 336
Published: 28th October 2010
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 22.8 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.541