An interdisciplinary symposium exploring paratexts in writing from and about the Pacific
Plenary lectures: Rod Edmond (University of Kent); Anna Johnston (University of Queensland)
Meiji University, Tokyo, Japan, November 7-8 2020
This two-day interdisciplinary symposium investigates the role and status of paratexts in the mediation and representation of Pacific cultures, geography and history. “Paratext” is the label coined by theorist Gerald Genette to describe those threshold devices that help shape a text’s reception, including annotations, blurbs, cover design, epigraphs, fonts, format, front and back covers, glossaries, illustrations, indices, introductions, maps, prologues and epilogues and titles.
Paratexts have been a frequent presence in Western literary representations of the Pacific. Consider, for example, the “Preface”, annotations and glossary that accompanies Louis Antione de Bougainville’s Voyage Autour du Monde (1771); John Hawkesworth’s paratexts for his edition of Captain Cook’s An Account of the Voyages (1773); the famous marginal gloss that accompanies Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s 1817 version of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”; Edgar Allan Poe’s deconstructive “Preface” and footnotes for The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket (1838); Pierre Loti’s epigraphs, notes and parallel transcriptions of Tahitian and French for The Marriage of Loti (1880); and Robert Louis Stevenson’s ethnographic annotations for his Polynesian Ballads …read more