Beach Crossings
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Beach Crossings
Voyaging Across Times, Cultures, and Self

Greg Dening

376 pages | 7 x 10 | 8 illus.
Cloth 2004 | ISBN 978-0-8122-3849-5 | $65.00s | £42.50 | Add to cart
Not for sale in Australia or New Zealand

Distinguished historian / anthropologist Greg Dening here revisits the island beaches of Oceania in an extended essay on first encounters and the peoples they brought together. An imaginative exploration of the symbolic strip where ocean meets island, Dening's meditation reflects upon the bloody history of the Marquesas in the South Pacific: its inhabitants and its combatants, the author's own time spent there and in study of his subject. This is a book to treasure and to reflect upon.

First encounters are usually written about as the history of explorers and the anthropology of "others." It is Greg Dening's project to produce a history and anthropology of both, "on the beach," where so many of these exchanges between peoples began. Dening imaginatively reconstructs the first interactions among explorers, missionaries, and natives—mostly in the Marquesas, the primary focus of his scholarly work. He examines fictional accounts of these encounters as well as the written record, revisiting the experiences of Captain Bligh and Gauguin, Melville's seafarers as well as some famous castaways. Each featured beach crossing is prefaced with an introduction placing the encounter in its historical context.

Beach Crossings is for Greg Dening a summary work, the apex of a fifty-year career that has taken him across many beaches and oceans. The author of the seminal volume Mr. Bligh's Bad Language, Dening writes here an intensely personal, compelling reflection upon his crossings, his subjects'—and ours.

Greg Dening is Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne and Adjunct Professor at the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research at the Australian National University. Among his works are The Death of William Gooch and Performances.

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