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In the South Seas: Being an Account of Experiences and Observations in the Marquesas, Paumotus and Gilbert Islands in the Course of Two Cruises, on the Yacht "Casco" (1888) and the Schooner "Equator" (1889)

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This is the story of Stevenson's Pacific travels on the Casco and the Equator. It is a beautifully observed account of island peoples and their life; it is also the story of the beginning of his love affair with the Pacific, and of his growing commitment to the island cause. In the South Seas has been described as "the most solid of Stevenson's general writings;" it is cer This is the story of Stevenson's Pacific travels on the Casco and the Equator. It is a beautifully observed account of island peoples and their life; it is also the story of the beginning of his love affair with the Pacific, and of his growing commitment to the island cause. In the South Seas has been described as "the most solid of Stevenson's general writings;" it is certainly his least known book as well as a unique gem of Pacific literature, and richly deserves to be rediscovered.


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This is the story of Stevenson's Pacific travels on the Casco and the Equator. It is a beautifully observed account of island peoples and their life; it is also the story of the beginning of his love affair with the Pacific, and of his growing commitment to the island cause. In the South Seas has been described as "the most solid of Stevenson's general writings;" it is cer This is the story of Stevenson's Pacific travels on the Casco and the Equator. It is a beautifully observed account of island peoples and their life; it is also the story of the beginning of his love affair with the Pacific, and of his growing commitment to the island cause. In the South Seas has been described as "the most solid of Stevenson's general writings;" it is certainly his least known book as well as a unique gem of Pacific literature, and richly deserves to be rediscovered.

30 review for In the South Seas: Being an Account of Experiences and Observations in the Marquesas, Paumotus and Gilbert Islands in the Course of Two Cruises, on the Yacht "Casco" (1888) and the Schooner "Equator" (1889)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Monica

    No cabe duda que Stevenson era un escritor con un don inherente para narrar historias; sea cual sea su temática, enfoque o calado. De los pocos escritores, en mi opinión, que consiguen mantenerte atrapado entre sus páginas; aunque te describa la función indígena de las hogueras o el funcionamiento de un palillo. Su lenguaje era exquisito, su halo refinado, sin resultar pedante, con una narración sumamente detallista y evocadora, sin que pesen en su ritmo, que sin ser endiablado (como en el prese No cabe duda que Stevenson era un escritor con un don inherente para narrar historias; sea cual sea su temática, enfoque o calado. De los pocos escritores, en mi opinión, que consiguen mantenerte atrapado entre sus páginas; aunque te describa la función indígena de las hogueras o el funcionamiento de un palillo. Su lenguaje era exquisito, su halo refinado, sin resultar pedante, con una narración sumamente detallista y evocadora, sin que pesen en su ritmo, que sin ser endiablado (como en el presente caso), consigue dotar de agilidad a cualquier cosa que toque, por su maestría. En esta obra ‘autobiográfica’ a retazos de sus experiencias en Las islas Gilbert, Marquesas, Pomotú y Apemama, no hace sino ratificar lo mencionado. Distando mucho de sus grandes obras, aquí encontramos, a priori, un tono mucho más personal, intimista y crítico, bastante adelantada par su tiempo (Si bien, en doctor Jekyll y Mr, Hyde ya lo hacía a modo de metáfora). El narrador se involucra, vertiendo su opinión (para bien y mal) en su radiografía de tales paraísos salvajes, y especialmente de su población e interactuación directa y profunda con ella, haciendo símiles entre las metodologías de éstos y las de los europeos, en tiempos pasados y no tanto. En el libro, Stevenson narra de modo encadenado varios temas, historias, experiencias y mitos, incluyéndolos a placer, según su criterio. Por lo cual, no cabe esperar una historia cronológica y sucesiva, sino retazos de los más importante e imperioso que él quería destacar en su paso por unas tierras duras y complacientes al mismo tiempo, una suma de sus reflexiones. Con ello, no se resiente su desarrollo ni este resulta tosco, ya que un genio como él consigue sumergirte en su particular epopeya de inmersión y compresión de los nativos. Bien puede considerarse su obra como uno de los primeros ensayos periodísticos de siglo 19. Recalco ‘Autobiográfica’, pues cuando el autor nos narra, por ejemplo, su experiencia de hipnosis por parte del curandero del rey de Apemama, las tradiciones funerarias de Pomotú o pasajes acerca de personajes míticos de las islas; una sospecha que interviene algo del ‘cuentacuentos’ y su mano para incrementar su intensidad o atmósfera; pero esta, pese a ser una suposición, si fuera certera, no altera para nada la esencia de visión articulista de los mares del caribe; pues la enriquece. El libro está dividido en cuatro partes: Las Maquesas, Las Pomotú, Las Gilbert y Gilbert – Apemama. En su primer tramo, el más extenso, hace eco, entre otras se hace eco de los extranjeros solitarios de los parajes, las causas más comunes de la muerte nativa, el canibalismo histórico y su huella, los tabúes sociales, personalidad y evolución social de los habitantes, modo de vida, leyendas, morfología y lenguaje, comunicación, personajes célebres, misiones y misioneros, presidio, castigo y tortura, entre otros. Stevenson dota a la narración de contrastes, deja ver a un pueblo educado, invadido por los franceses que han transgredido y pervertido y confundido, con principios y contradicciones entre su pasado y presente; sus modales y salvajismo que conforman presente y pasado, que resaltan de su paradisíaca isla. Esta parte puede considerarse una extensa y notable radiografía social, que toca temas muy delicados. En la referente a Pomotú, mucho más inhóspita y alejada, paradisiaca pero llena de peligro (atolones, arrecifes y corrientes internas) y escasez de alimentación, El escritor hace énfasis en su elemento salvaje y caprichoso físicamente hablando, para ambientar un paraje nómada, plácido, aislado y solitario; igualmente cautivador. Su pueblo resulta humilde, religioso, pero por el gusto por la estafa, las supersticiones y la doble moral de a pie (al igual que los ‘avanzados’; nosotros). En resumen, un tramo más tranquilo y anecdótico en narración, no tan truculento, pero igualmente crítico y analista. Las Gilbert, por su lado, las describe Europeizadas y cosmopolitas, avocados a la bebida, el robo y el acoso debido a la ‘prohibición’ de esta, realizando una radiografía excelente de su insidiosa y tiránica jerarquía Real (esclavistas de mujeres y poseedores de harenes), que con el paso de los tiempos ha derivado tal actitud Mahometana (como el propio Stevenson cita), en el equilibrio particular del poder por parte del poseedor material de cada hogar, sin importar su género. Una parte que disecciona las jerarquías tiránicas, y las consecuencias de estas magistralmente. En su última parte; Apemama, Stevenson sigue el hilo de las jerarquías, concretando en el rey de ésta singular isla (que bajo su mandato, pretende eradicar todo los errores de sus islas vecinas, dotándolo de un paraíso selecto y en orden; no sin su tiranía operante) , en la que tuvo que pedir permiso para entrar y ser supervisado por el monarca de primera mano a lo largo de toda su estancia. Este es ,seguramente, el tramo de impronta más personal, por lo que llega a desnudarse narrativamente mediante su involucración personal con el monarca, sus conversaciones, protección por parte de este, y sus sentimientos encontrados entre la amistad y gratitud, y el terror que tienen los lugareños a su monarca; pues los seres de poder, tienen claro oscuros, mucho más apreciables desde la cercanía y el compromiso; como refleja el escritor perfectamente; aún no pretendiendo que compremos su perspectiva, sino traspasándola solamente mediante su retrato versado en macro. En resumen, ‘en los mares del sur’ es una lectura de viajes más que notable, por su singularidad en concepto, su reflexión, abarcamiento de radiografía, visión sin tabúes ni pelos en lengua de las islas sur en una época en pleno cambio de era y civilización. Una lectura que cuenta con 500 páginas, y se lee en un suspiro, incluso no teniendo un ritmo vertiginoso. Mucho más apreciable en una relectura, incluso. En definitiva, una lectura rica, personal, llena de matices y reflexiones.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sara Jesus

    Stevenson ficou famoso por escrever livros de aventuras como " A ilha do tesouro" e "A flecha negra",que polvilham o imaginário de muitos adolescentes. Tal como muitos escritores encantou-se pelos mares do Pacífico. Neste relato de viagens, o escritor escocês descreve-nos com detalhe cada ilha que visita. Através dele conhecemos os locais, sua maioria indígenas, seus hábitos e tradições. Destaco a última parte, a figura do rei de Apanema intrigou-me bastante. Um livro perfeito para esta época d Stevenson ficou famoso por escrever livros de aventuras como " A ilha do tesouro" e "A flecha negra",que polvilham o imaginário de muitos adolescentes. Tal como muitos escritores encantou-se pelos mares do Pacífico. Neste relato de viagens, o escritor escocês descreve-nos com detalhe cada ilha que visita. Através dele conhecemos os locais, sua maioria indígenas, seus hábitos e tradições. Destaco a última parte, a figura do rei de Apanema intrigou-me bastante. Um livro perfeito para esta época de pandemia. Podemos imaginar estar numa dessas ilhas paradisíacas...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Douglas

    Stevenson himself makes a very interesting character study, even amongst the colourful Islanders. Lots of anecdotes and insights. Do the Islanders' provide any sketches of their visitors, I wonder. Stevenson himself makes a very interesting character study, even amongst the colourful Islanders. Lots of anecdotes and insights. Do the Islanders' provide any sketches of their visitors, I wonder.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Manuel Alfonseca

    Interesting account of Stevenson's journey through the islands of the Pacific Ocean. It's much better written than Martin Johnson's book on the same subject and describes in much more detail his adventures among the Polynesians. Comparing both books, it is surprising how much things changed in just 15 years. Interesting account of Stevenson's journey through the islands of the Pacific Ocean. It's much better written than Martin Johnson's book on the same subject and describes in much more detail his adventures among the Polynesians. Comparing both books, it is surprising how much things changed in just 15 years.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Gavin

    Stevenson's relation of his experiences aboard a yacht cruising through the South Seas. The sequences about cannibal high places are stuck in my mind forever. He has a way of bringing alive the ocean and its islands like no other author I've read. Stevenson's relation of his experiences aboard a yacht cruising through the South Seas. The sequences about cannibal high places are stuck in my mind forever. He has a way of bringing alive the ocean and its islands like no other author I've read.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Claudia Vannucci

    Uno dei più bei libri di viaggio mai scritti. Stevenson alla scoperta delle isole del Pacifico è pura avventura, curiosità e spirito d'osservazione. Ne parlo in modo approfondito nell'episodio del podcast Il Milione: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3kUs... Uno dei più bei libri di viaggio mai scritti. Stevenson alla scoperta delle isole del Pacifico è pura avventura, curiosità e spirito d'osservazione. Ne parlo in modo approfondito nell'episodio del podcast Il Milione: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3kUs...

  7. 4 out of 5

    Albert Pickwick

    Un Stevenson diferente al de sus conocidas novelas, pero que demuestra en cada página su magistral pluma. La ingenuidad en algunas de sus descripciones de las gentes de las islas Marquesas, Gilbert, Paumotus, no disminuye el encanto de su narración y el profundo respeto por su cultura. La tuberculosis que lo llevó a sus viajes, acabó con él en Samoa a muy temprana edad, pero quedarán para siempre la magia de los relatos de las costumbres, clima, naturaleza, mitos y gentes de los atolones más ais Un Stevenson diferente al de sus conocidas novelas, pero que demuestra en cada página su magistral pluma. La ingenuidad en algunas de sus descripciones de las gentes de las islas Marquesas, Gilbert, Paumotus, no disminuye el encanto de su narración y el profundo respeto por su cultura. La tuberculosis que lo llevó a sus viajes, acabó con él en Samoa a muy temprana edad, pero quedarán para siempre la magia de los relatos de las costumbres, clima, naturaleza, mitos y gentes de los atolones más aislados de nuestro planeta.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kåge Klang

    En del har höjt den till skyarna, vet inte riktigt varför. Men den ger en god bild av det leverne han hade att förhålla sig till på öarna. Därför kanske det dokumentära gav extra kickar förr.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bonnye Reed

    The Archive

  10. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    A classic must read!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Katy Lovejoy

    I'm sensing a theme with his books I'm sensing a theme with his books

  12. 5 out of 5

    Michael Ratnapalan

    While by no means his best work, this posthumously assembled collection of travel letters still contains some of his deepest, most insightful writing.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Ginny_1807

    In genere non amo i libri di viaggi, li trovo aridi e tediosi. Ma quando a narrare è uno scrittore come Stevenson anche il più oggettivo resoconto geografico prende vita e si carica di significato, rivelando intimi echi dell'animo dell'autore e dando luogo a un prodotto letterario di prima qualità. Così me lo sono gustato dalla prima all'ultima pagina. "Un poco più tardi, lo stesso giorno, vedemmo, in condizioni migliori, l'isola di Taiaro. Perduta nel mare, forse questo vuol dire il suo nome. Ed In genere non amo i libri di viaggi, li trovo aridi e tediosi. Ma quando a narrare è uno scrittore come Stevenson anche il più oggettivo resoconto geografico prende vita e si carica di significato, rivelando intimi echi dell'animo dell'autore e dando luogo a un prodotto letterario di prima qualità. Così me lo sono gustato dalla prima all'ultima pagina. "Un poco più tardi, lo stesso giorno, vedemmo, in condizioni migliori, l'isola di Taiaro. Perduta nel mare, forse questo vuol dire il suo nome. Ed era così che ci appariva, perduta nel mare azzurro e nel cielo, un anello di spiaggia bianca, una boscaglia verde, e palme dondolanti colore di gemma, d'una bellezza favolosa e celestiale. La spuma dei marosi la circondava, bianca come la neve, e si rompeva in un punto lontano, che somigliava a uno scoglio, non segnato sulle carte. Non c'era fumo, non c'era traccia di vita umana; certo l'isola non è abitata, ma solo visitata ad intervalli. Eppure un mercante (Mr. Narii Salmon) osservava dalla spiaggia, meravigliato, il battello inatteso. Dopo, ho passato lunghi mesi nelle Isole Basse, conosco il tedio delle loro giornate sempre uguali, conosco il peso della loro vita. Per quanto potesse essere grande il desiderio col quale guardavamo dal ponte quei recessi di verzura, era certo dieci volte più grande quello di Mr. Salmon e dei suoi compagni mentre ci vedevano dirigere il nostro rapido battello verso il largo. La notte discese straordinariamente deliziosa. Dopo che la luna scomparve il cielo si coprì di una meraviglia di stelle. E mentre riposavo nel cassero e guardavo il pilota, mi ricordavo i versi di Emerson: E il marinaio solitario, tutta la notte naviga attonito tra le stelle.

  14. 5 out of 5

    James Henderson

    Tahiti was the setting for Herman Melville’s Omoo, published in 1847. This was the second of Melville’s novels — a sequel to Typee and so a second “Peep at Polynesian Life.” While both of his books were popular, another of my favorite authors also wrote eloquently of his travels including Tahiti. While he had previously travelled with a donkey, Robert Louis Stevenson in 1888 travelled to Tahiti, and after two more voyages settled in the Samoan Islands for the remainder of his life. It was from h Tahiti was the setting for Herman Melville’s Omoo, published in 1847. This was the second of Melville’s novels — a sequel to Typee and so a second “Peep at Polynesian Life.” While both of his books were popular, another of my favorite authors also wrote eloquently of his travels including Tahiti. While he had previously travelled with a donkey, Robert Louis Stevenson in 1888 travelled to Tahiti, and after two more voyages settled in the Samoan Islands for the remainder of his life. It was from his time in Tahiti that he was inspired to write some of his most evocative poetry including the following: Let me fathom out with my arms the length of golden-bred Tahiti And number one by one the lands of Tautira. I am seized with fear at Tepari I shall stop short at Vaita Clouds are over the sun and it blows a bad wind, And my home is beyond at Faaroa. At Vaiumete is a ledge where a man must go with the arms spread. I must measure with my arms the face of that weary cliff. Stevenson loved Tahiti and developed a close friendship with a Tahitian named Ori, becoming a "brother" to the Tahitian subchief (Bell, p 217). While he published three tales about Tahiti his collection of travel essays, In the South Seas, did not include essays on the time he spent in Tahiti. I have always marveled at the various, often famous, adventure novels by Stevenson. My fascination with this author is enhanced by his life story, for as a sickly child, would grow up to trvel extensively, often because of his illness. Needless, his wanderlust led in part to the wonderful novels of adventure that we have today.

  15. 4 out of 5

    John Brissette

    An almost two century old travel blog! Amazing. I picked this up as I am a frequent traveler to Polynesia & have adopted the islands as a second home. I was intending it to be an almost "required reading" type read. What it was, as Stevenson's end of life memoir of his travels is an amazingly modern feeling record of his travels that is almost blog like and fresh despite being nearly two centuries old. It reads almost like something you'd see a modern travel writer like Bourdain do & perhaps Ste An almost two century old travel blog! Amazing. I picked this up as I am a frequent traveler to Polynesia & have adopted the islands as a second home. I was intending it to be an almost "required reading" type read. What it was, as Stevenson's end of life memoir of his travels is an amazingly modern feeling record of his travels that is almost blog like and fresh despite being nearly two centuries old. It reads almost like something you'd see a modern travel writer like Bourdain do & perhaps Stevenson affected much of his style, who knows. But a great read and a great surprise for me.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Fritz Galt

    Robert Louis Stevenson has the right word for everything, and the right observations of every new culture he encounters on his trips around the Pacific. He captures people just before and during the invasion of traders to their islands. A remarkable anthropological and personal account.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Joy

    It was interesting to see what travel to the islands was like back in the 1800's. It was interesting to see what travel to the islands was like back in the 1800's.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    This man is so interesting, and so ahead of his time.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Justin Snyder

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pat Berry

  21. 4 out of 5

    Michael

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pol

  23. 5 out of 5

    Manon

  24. 4 out of 5

    T Land

  25. 5 out of 5

    David Roth

  26. 5 out of 5

    Brad Thompson

  27. 4 out of 5

    Rodrigo ChM

  28. 5 out of 5

    T.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Aurora

  30. 4 out of 5

    Billy Bob

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