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An Account of the Pelew Islands , situated in the western part of the Pacific Ocean
London: Printed for G. Nicol, 1788. Quarto, engraved portrait frontispiece, folding maps and views; a good copy in contemporary marbled calf, sides a little worn but attractive, rebacked. The Palau islands. Keate's Pelew Islands was one of the most popular eighteenth-century books on the Pacific, and remains the main source for early knowledge of the Palau Islands in Micronesia. In 1783 the Antelope was wrecked on an uncharted reef near Palau; the crew reached shore and were well treated by the natives. From the wreck they built a small boat which they managed to get to Macao, taking with them Prince Lee Boo, the son of King Abba Thule. Lee Boo, who travelled with them to England but died soon after of smallpox, did much to reinforce the idea of the noble savage: his effect can be judged by the quite substantial quantity of publications devoted to him. Bernard Smith has pointed out that Keate's portrayal of Lee Boo and his father echoes Voltaire's Ingénu, and indeed Keate had known Voltaire in the 1750s. Keate's book is both 'a splendid yarn of danger and adventure in the South Seas and the most thoroughgoing and elaborate presentation of the noble savage in the literature of the South Seas' (European Vision and the South Pacific, pp. 136-7).
      [Bookseller: Hordern House Rare Books]
Last Found On: 2014-07-29           Check availability:      Biblio    


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