The discovery of the Pacific islands amplified the qualities of
mystery and exoticism already associated with 'foreign' islands.
Their 'savage' peoples, their isolation, and their sheer beauty
fascinated British visitors across the long nineteenth century.
Dark Paradise argues that while the British originally believed the
islands to be commercial paradises or perfect sites for missionary
endeavours, as the century progressed, their optimistic vision
transformed to portray darker realities. As a result, these islands
act as a 'breaking point' for British theories of imperialism,
colonialism, and identity. The book traces the changing British
attitudes towards imperial settlement as the early view of 'island
as paradise' gives way to a fear of the hostile islanders and
examines how this revelation undermined a key tenent of British
imperialism - that they were the 'superior' or 'civilized'
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