In Search of Paradise

Artists and Writers in the Colonial South Pacific

by Graeme Lay

In this lavishly illustrated book, author Graeme Lay presents the lives of some of the finest artists and writers to have been inspired by the South Pacific. In Search of Paradise tells the story of their visual and literary journeys, covering two hundred years of European contact with the South Pacific islands and the people who inhabited them. Among this rich selection of work are:

Louis-Antoine de Bougainville‘s discovery of Taihitian free love; the candid chronicles of naturalist Joseph Banks; accounts of the infamous mutiny of the Bounty; Charles Darwin‘s memorable discoveries while voyaging on the Beagle; the masterful botranical works of Sydney Parkinson; the landscape paintings by William Hodges from James Cook‘s second voyage; the radiant Tahitian paintings of Paul Gaugin; Herman Melville’s very first fiction; Robert Louis Stevenson‘s life and death in Samoa; Jack London‘s evocative account of his cruise through the South Pacific on board the Snark; the love affair of Rupert Brooke‘s life; the inspiration of Somerset Maugham‘s best-known short story; the remarkable literary partnership of Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall.

In Search of Paradise explores the magnetic attraction of the South Pacific for artists, writer and others who chronicled the European discovery of these islands. It also celebrates the lasting influence of their work.





This is a most instructive work. It is also a singularly seductive one . . . both an exciting introduction to the field of Pacific history for anyone looking for somewhere to start, and a revitalising treatment of a major theme within that subject that will delight and gratify readers who might consider themselves already well informed. . . . It will seduce anyone who opens it, no less than the Pacific islands have seduced so many of those who have come visiting.  Hugh Laracy, Canvas Magazine

ISBN: 9781869621537

Pages: 256

Format: 290 x 270 mm, cased and jacketed

Illustrations: 180 colour illustrations

Published: October 2008


Rights Available: World except New Zealand, Australia