By Georg Forster
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Additional info for A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set)
F o r s t e r ’ s P r e f ac e Upon his arrival in England, he was immediately introduced into genteel company, led to the most splendid entertainments of this great and luxurious metropolis, and presented at court amidst a brilliant circle of the first nobility. He naturally imitated that easy and elegant politeness which is so prevalent in all those places, and which is one of the ornaments of civilized society; he adopted the manners, the occupations, and amusements of his companions, and gave many proofs of a quick perception and lively fancy.
10 It was the fate of the History, to be compiled by a person who had not been on the voyage; and to the frivolous observations, the uninteresting digressions, and sophistical principle of this writer, the ill-success of the work has been attributed; though few are able to determine, with what degree of justice the blame is thrown upon the compiler. 11 His present performance will, in all probability, have another circumstance in common with the former, where many important observations, thought obnoxious, have been suppressed, as is customary in France.
While the encounters in the west included moments of mutual recognition and conversation, and while indigenous people certainly did not absolutely resist exchange and the sociality it implied, they generally sustained the clear demarcations between indigenous and European groups; neither ritually nor in other respects did they incorporate the visitors in any significant ways. The absence of sexual contacts, which were so notorious a feature of the Polynesian encounters, from the meetings in Vanuatu and New Caledonia underlines this point, as does the relative unwillingness of the peoples of both places to share food (though the lack of prestations must probably also be attributed simply to seasonal shortages).
A Voyage Round the World (2-Volume Set) by Georg Forster