Advertisement

“Little House in the Bush”: Specters of Vailima

  • Carla Manfredi
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Nineteenth-Century Writing and Culture book series (PNWC)

Abstract

This chapter takes the development of the Stevensons’ Vailima Plantation on Sāmoa as its starting point and broadens its focus to discuss the many German-run plantations on Upolu. Stevenson depicts these plantations as sites of Gothic terror that have incorporated—and become part of—Samoan folklore, especially insofar as spirits known as aitu inhabit them. Stevenson’s accounts from his personal correspondence and A Footnote to History in Sāmoa are juxtaposed with local newspaper coverage that participated in debates regarding the ethics and violence of plantation labor. The chapter closes with the specific case of Arrick, a young Melanesian “savage” who worked at Vailima and was included in a family portrait. An analysis of this photograph reveals Arrick as a domestic “cannibal,” a banal feature of domestic life on the imperial fringe.

References

Manuscripts

  1. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Malaga in Tutuila. Undated. GEN MSS. 664, 996–997. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.Google Scholar
  2. Stevenson, Robert Louis. Samoan Vocabulary. Undated. GEN MSS. 664, 6827. The Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University.Google Scholar
  3. Strong, Joseph Dwight. Correspondence from Isobel Field (Osbourne) to Charles Warren Stoddard. 1891. HM. 37993. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.Google Scholar
  4. Strong, Joseph Dwight. Correspondence from Joseph D. Strong to Charles Warren Stoddard. 1892 June. HM. 38035. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.Google Scholar
  5. Strong, Joseph Dwight. Correspondence from Isobel Field (Osbourne) to Charles Warren Stoddard. 1892 July. HM. 37995. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.Google Scholar
  6. Strong, Joseph Dwight. Correspondence from Joseph D. Strong to Charles Warren Stoddard. 1892 September. HM. 38036. The Huntington Library, San Marino, California.Google Scholar

Published Works by R. L. Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson and Margaret Stevenson

  1. Stevenson, Fanny Van de Grift. 2004. The Cruise of the ‘Janet Nichol’ among the South Seas Islands. Ed. Roslyn Jolly. Sydney: University of New South Wales Press.Google Scholar
  2. Stevenson, Margaret Isabella Balfour. 1906. Letters from Samoa, 1891–1895. Ed. Marie Clothilde Balfour. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
  3. Stevenson, Robert Louis. 1994–1995. The Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson. Eds. Bradforth Booth and Ernest Mehew. 8 Vols. New Haven: Yale University. Press.Google Scholar
  4. ———. 1996. A Footnote to History: Eight Years of Trouble in Samoa. Ed. Malama Meleiseā. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  5. ———. 1998. In the South Seas: Being an Account of Experiences and Observations in the Marquesas, Paumotus and Gilbert Islands in the Course of Two Cruises on the Yacht “Casco” (1888) and the Schooner “Equator.” Ed. Neil Rennie. London: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  6. Stevenson, Robert Louis and Fanny Van de Grift Stevenson. 1955. Our Samoan Adventure. Ed. Charles Neider. Harper & Brothers.Google Scholar

Secondary Works

  1. Banivanua-Mar, Tracey. 2007. Violence and Colonial Dialogue: Australia-Pacific Indentured Labor Trade. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bell, Leonard. 2002. Pictures as History, Settlement as Theatre: John Davis’s Photographs of Robert Louis Stevenson and Family at Vailima, Samoa, 1892. Journal of New Zealand Literature 20: 93–111.Google Scholar
  3. Bennett, Judith. 1976. Immigration, ‘Blackbirding’, Labour Recruiting? The Hawaiian Experience, 1877–1887. Journal of Pacific History 11 (1): 3–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Brawley, Sean, and Chris Dixon. 2015. The South Seas: A Reception History from Daniel Defoe to Dorothy Lamour. Lanham: Lexington Books.Google Scholar
  5. Brockway, Lucile H. 2002. Science and Colonial Expansion: The Role of the Royal Botanic Gardens. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Churchward, William B. 1887. My Consulate in Samoa: A Record of Four Years’ Sojourn in the Navigators Islands, with Personal Experiences of King Malietoa Laupepe, His Country, His Men. London: Richard Bentley and Son.Google Scholar
  7. Cyclopedia of Samoa (Illustrated): A Complete Review of the History and Traditions and the Commercial Development of the Islands, with Statistics and Data never before completed in a single publication. 1907. McCarron, Stewart & Co.Google Scholar
  8. Corris, Peter. 1973. Passage, Port and Plantation: A History of Solomon Islands Labour Migration, 1870–1914. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Dawson, Thomas M. 1882. General Trade in Samoa. Commercial Relations of the United States: Reports from Consuls of the United States on the Commerce, Manufacturers, Etc., of the Consular Districts No. 24–27. Government Printing Office.Google Scholar
  10. Docker, Edward. 1970. The Blackbirders: The Recruiting of South Sea Labour for Queensland, 1863–1907. Melbourne: Angus and Robertson.Google Scholar
  11. Drayton, Richard. 2000. Nature’s Government: Science, Imperial Britain, and the ‘Improvement’ of the World. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  12. Fanon, Frantz. 1963. The Wretched of the Earth. Trans. Constance Farrington. New York City: Grove Press.Google Scholar
  13. Firth, Stewart. 1974. German Recruitment and Employment of Labourers in the Western Pacific Before the First World War. PhD diss., Oxford UniversityGoogle Scholar
  14. ———. 1982. New Guinea under the Germans. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Gilson, Richard. 1970. Samoa 1830 to 1900: The Politics of a Multi-Cultural Community. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  16. Hempenstall, Peter, and Noel Rutherford. 1984. Protest and Dissent in the Colonial Pacific. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  17. Hiery, Hermann Joseph. 2005. Bilder aus der deutschen Südsee, Fotografien 1884–1914. Paderborn: Schöningh.Google Scholar
  18. Holmes, Lowell D. 2001. Treasured Islands: Cruising in the South Seas with Robert Louis Stevenson. Dobbs Ferry: Sheridan House.Google Scholar
  19. Inglis, John. 1890. Bible Illustrations from the New Hebrides: With Notices of the Progress of the Mission. Edinburgh: Thomas Nelson and Sons.Google Scholar
  20. Jolly, Roslyn. 2010. Stevenson in the Pacific. In The Edinburgh Companion to Robert Louis Stevenson. Ed. Penny Fielding, 118–133. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kabutaulaka, Tarcisius. 2015. Re-Presenting Melanesia: Ignoble Savages and Melanesian Alter-Natives. The Contemporary Pacific 27 (1): 110–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Krämer, Augustin. 1994. The Samoa Islands. Vol 1., Trans. Theodore Verhaaren. Auckland: Polynesian Press.Google Scholar
  23. Latukefu, Sione. 1996. Pacific Islander Missionaries. In The Covenant Makers: Islander Missionaries in the Pacific. Ed. Doug Munro and Andrew Thornley, 17–40. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  24. MacDonald, Barrie. 2001. Cinderellas of the Empire: Towards a History of Kiribati and Tuvalu. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  25. Manfredi, Carla. 2016. R.L. Stevenson’s Samoan Gothic: Representing Late Nineteenth-Century Plantations. Pacific Studies 39 (3): 343–369.Google Scholar
  26. McKenzie, Kenneth. 1979. The Last Opportunity: Robert Louis Stevenson and Samoa, 1889–1894. In More Pacific Islands Portraits. Ed. Deryck Scarr, 155–172. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  27. McLynn, Frank. 1994. Robert Louis Stevenson: A Biography. London: Pimlico.Google Scholar
  28. Meleiseā, Malama. 1987. The Making of Modern Samoa: Traditional Authority and Colonial Administration in the History of Western Samoa. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  29. Meleiseā, Malama, and Penelope Schoeffel Meleiseā, eds. 1987. Lagaga: A Short History of Western Samoa. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  30. Moore, Clive. 1985. Kanaka: A History of Melanesian Mackay. Port Moresby: University of Papua New Guinea Press.Google Scholar
  31. Moore, Clive, Jacqueline Leckie, and Doug Munro, eds. 1990. Labour in the South Pacific. Townsville: James Cook University of Northern Queensland.Google Scholar
  32. Moors, Harry Jay. 1910. With Stevenson in Samoa. Boston: Small, Maynard.Google Scholar
  33. ———. The Tokanoa: A Plain Tale of Some Strange Adventures in the Gilberts. MICROFILM S50060 no.10. Honolulu: The University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa.Google Scholar
  34. ———. Tapu: A Tale of Adventure in the South Seas, from the Diary of John T. Bradley. MICROFILM S50060 no. 9. Honolulu: The University of Hawai‘i-Mānoa.Google Scholar
  35. Munro, Doug. 1982. The Lagoon Islands: A History of Tuvalu, 1820–1908. PhD diss., Macquarie University.Google Scholar
  36. ———. 1989. Planter versus Protector: Frank Cornwall’s Employment of Gilbertese Plantation workers in Samoa, 1877–1881. New Zealand Journal of History 23 (2): 173–182.Google Scholar
  37. ———. 2000. German Commercial Interests. In Pacific Islands: An Encyclopedia, ed. Brij V. Lal and Kate Fortune. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.Google Scholar
  38. Munro, Doug, and Stewart Firth. 1987. From Company Rule to Consular Control: Gilbert Island Labourers on German Plantations in Samoa, 1876–96. Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 16 (1): 24–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. ———. 1990. Company Strategies—Colonial Policies. In Labour in the South Pacific. Ed. Clive Moore, Jacqueline Leckie, and Doug Munro, 3–29. Townsville: James Cook University.Google Scholar
  40. ———. 1993. Samoan Plantations: The Gilbertese Laborers’ Experience, 1876–1896. In Plantation Workers: Resistance and Accommodation. Ed. Brij V. Lal, Doug Munro, and Edward D. Beechert, 101–127. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  41. Samoa Times and South Sea Advertiser. “Treatment of Foreign Boys.” March 1, 1890, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.Google Scholar
  42. ———. “Murder of a Black Boy near Vailili.” April 26, 1890, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  43. ———. “Correspondence.” July 12, 1890, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  44. ———. “Riot in Matafele.” October 4, 1890, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers
  45. ———. “Cannibalism on Mulifanua Plantation.” January 24, 1891, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  46. ———. “Murder or Manslaughter.” May 2, 1891, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  47. ———. “Supreme Court.” March 11, 1893, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  48. ———. “Local and General News.” December 15, 1894, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspaper.
  49. Samoa Times and South Sea Gazette. “Sworn to no Master, of no sect am I.” October 20, 1877. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  50. ———. “Sworn to no Master, of no Sect am I”. July 20, 1880, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz.
  51. ———. “Sworn to no Master, of no Sect am I.” July 24 1880. https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  52. ———. “Sworn to no Master, of no Sect am I.” November 20, 1880, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  53. Samoa Weekly Herald. “Supreme Court.” March 11, 1893, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  54. ———. “Local and General News.” December 8, 1894, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  55. ———. “Supreme Court.” March 9, 1895, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  56. ———. “Correspondence.” September 2, 1899, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  57. ———, “Supreme Court of Samoa.” September 16, 1899, https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers.
  58. Samson, Jane. 1998. Imperial Benevolence: Making British Authority in the Pacific Islands. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press.Google Scholar
  59. ———. 2001. Ethnology and Theology: Nineteenth-Century Mission Dilemmas in the South Pacific. In Christian Missions and the Enlightenment. Ed. Brian Stanley, 99–123. Abingdon: Routledge.Google Scholar
  60. Scarr, Deryck. 1967. Fragments of Empire: A History of the Western Pacific High Commission, 1877–1914. Canberra: Australian National University Press.Google Scholar
  61. Sinclair, Ruta. 1982. Samoans in Papua. In Polynesian Missions in Melanesia: From Samoa, Cook Islands and Tonga to Papua New Guinea and New Caledonia. Eds. Ron Crocombe and Marjorie Crocombe. 17–38. Suva: University of the South Pacific.Google Scholar
  62. Spennemann, Dirk. 2003. The Heritage of Nineteenth-Century Samoan Newspapers: A Bibliographical Documentation. Albury: Charles Sturt University.Google Scholar
  63. Steinmetz, George. 2008. The Devil’s Handwriting: Precoloniality and the German Colonial State in Qingdao, Samoa, and Southwest Africa. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carla Manfredi
    • 1
  1. 1.University of WinnipegWinnipegCanada

Personalised recommendations