By Michael Sturma
From the first European contact with Tahiti in 1767, the myth of the South Sea maiden has endured through many incarnations. Although the maiden frequently provided an idealized antidote to Western women's self-assertion, the South Pacific also afforded a space where boundaries between the sexes could be relaxed and transgressed. From James Cook and Captain Bligh to James Michener and Margaret Mead, the "Island girl" has occupied a special place in the erotic imagination of the West. In a sweeping study that embraces history, literature, visual arts, anthropology and film, this study gives fresh insight into the myths and reality of a Western icon.
- Westport, CT