The Word, the Pen, and the Pistol: Literature and Power in Tahiti

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SUNY Press, Jan 1, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 230 pages
The Word, The Pen, and the Pistol explores the relationships between history, power, knowledge, and certain cultural productions such as literature in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Borrowing from the theoretical works of Michel Foucault and Edward Said, the book reveals in the French colonial territory of French Polynesia the complicit relationship between imperialism and colonial texts, between the image of Tahiti as "paradise on earth" and other instruments of management, and between discourses such as the "Noble Savage" and various technologies of discipline and ordering. In particular, the book discusses the role that such men as Buffon, Rousseau, Bouganville, Loti, Gauguin, and Gobineau and institutions such as science, phrenology, scholarship, racism, travel literature, education, and tourism played in creating, supporting, authorizing, disseminating and enforcing certain images of the Polynesian. The book simultaneously details the complex and diverse responses of Maohi people to these romanticized Western discourses and reconstructs the spaces used by them to inscribe their resistance.

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Chapter Two Tracing the Myth of Tahiti
Actualizing Tahiti
Chapter Five Dreamers and Pilgrims
Chapter Six DeRegulating the Myth
Chapter Seven Toward a Literature of Liberation

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About the author (2001)

Robert Nicole is Lecturer in History/Politics at the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji.

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