Dissertations and Theses

Date of Award


Document Type




First Advisor

Robert Higney

Second Advisor

Harold Veeser


crossing cultures, native portrayal, island inhabitant, Malay trilogy, early novels, imperialism


The thesis of this paper is that cross-cultural writing can be done with the right methods of communication, such as engaging narrator and education—or simply sensitive, imaginative writing. Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad’s five books set in the Polynesian and Malay Archipelagos—Typee and Omoo and the Malay Trilogy (Almayer’s Folly, An Outcast of the Islands, and The Rescue)— are used as master models of how to write indigenous characters with rich characterization in pivotal roles, even circa 1846 and 1896. The unique perspective and technique by which they did this is explored, a technique and perspective not as dissimilar as one would think. How the authors used and manipulated literary, political, and scientific textual traditions is discussed. Close readings demonstrate the authors’ methodology.



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