Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

John Cornell


Since the publication of Bernard Smith’s European Vision in the South Pacific in the 1960s, an immense amount of literature has been produced about how European exploration in the Pacific Ocean affected explorers, national governments, elite classes, and indigenous peoples. However, there is little scholarship about how the interactions between Europeans and Pacific Islanders in the 19th century influenced the perceptions of readers on the continent. This project will fill in this gap by showing how colonial and imperial literature affected European readers’ perception of what constitutes an ideal society between 1880 and 1900. To explore these changes, I will analyze the relationship between the wealth of Pacific travel literature and its European audience at the end of the 19th century.