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The Marquesan journal of Edward Robarts, 1797-1824

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The Marquesan journal of Edward Robarts, 1797-1824
Author(s): Robarts, Edward
Date published: 1974
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Description: 
Edward Robarts was among other things whaler, beachcomber, Tahitian rum producer, Tuamotuan pearler, butler in Penang, gardener and policeman in Calcutta. He deserted his ship in 1798 in the Marquesas, and lived there as a native, where he was adopted by the chiefly families, married a chief's daughter, and fought in battle as a Marquesan warrior. He spent longer in the islands than did most eighteenth century beachcombers, and got to know more about Polynesian society than did most other early observers. After leaving the Marquesas Robarts was employed in Penang as butler to a relative of the Raffles family. Raffles introduced him to Dr Leyden, under whose patronage he wrote this Journal. Now published for the first time, it is as Robarts wrote it, although Professor Dening has made some minor concessions to readability, as well as providing the invaluable introduction and annotations. Robarts's account of his Marquesan life is the single richest source of material yet published on this least known and unders tood of all Polynesian people. The scholar will find that Robarts{u2019}s ethnography modifies some later preconceptions about the Marquesas, and throws new light on the processes of cultural change in the Pacific. For the general reader the book is an enthralling autobiography of a common man who led a most uncommon life.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/114774

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