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‘Island of the blessed’: Eden, Arcadia and the picturesque in the textualizing of St Helena

Authors
Journal
Journal of Historical Geography
0305-7488
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
29
Issue
4
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1006/jhge.2002.0409
Disciplines
  • Economics
  • Linguistics

Abstract

Abstract For centuries islands have been identified in European discourses as places of simplicity, innocence, peace and abundance. The abiding appeal of islands in general, and St Helena in particular, is one to which academic discourse, too, has not been immune. Representations of the South Atlantic island of St Helena epitomize this employment of Edenic, Arcadian and Picturesque imagery in the textualization of islands in an imperial and colonial context. Although some descriptions of St Helena run counter to prevailing Arcadian ones, they do so largely because they portray the island as a once paradisiacal place now despoiled. This allegorical quality of islands is one which is of considerable normative value, as well of lasting appeal.

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