The most beautiful island on Earth

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The most beautiful island on Earth

Post  Guest on Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:15 pm

FOR many years I have wanted to introduce into the language a new word, nesomania, from the Greek nesos, meaning island, and mania, madness. My new word would describe an ingratiating dis­ease that has afflicted me most of my life. I am truly mad about islands. I respond to them. I feel better when I am in contact with them. And my spirit expands when I renew acquaintance.

My susceptibility to island fever began in childhood, with reading. (Robinson Crusoe would have been an ordinary person had he waded ashore on a continent: on an island he became a timeless symbol. Napo­leon, had he been exiled in some village, would have been a dyspep­tic warrior; on his lofty and lonely island he became tragic.)

The island madness became a vir­ulent disease in 1931 when I went to Scotland for graduate studies, and I succumbed to it totally during a winter spent on those faery islands off the western coast of Scotland, the Hebrides.

How small those Gaelic islands are, how infinitely remote with the great ocean pounding at them, how far removed in time. There, I lived with people whose attitudes dated back to the fifteenth century, who spoke an ancient language and who maintained incessant warfare with the sea. In winter the sun rose about nine and began to set at three, and in the long nights we sang, told heroic stories and lied about our ad­ventures with the ocean. I did not know it then, but my infatuation would colour my entire life.

When, during the Second World War, I was sent to the steaming jungle islands of the New Hebrides, my life came full circle. There I began to write Tales of the South Pacific. This book was an outgrowth of my immediate experiences in the New Hebrides, but the spiritual force came directly from my memories of the old Hebrides, where I had learnt what islands are.

In subsequent years I would visit most of the world’s significant islands. Gaunt New Guinea, a som­bre universe by itself; lovely Bali, where even the doorways are works of art; the lonely, wind-worn Falk­lands; rugged Pitcairn, lost in the southern seas; Tahiti of the dream­ers; and the most beautiful island on earth, Bora-Bora, more musical than its name, more perfect than the reef that encloses its volcanic remnants.


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Re: The most beautiful island on Earth

Post  QB on Thu Dec 13, 2012 5:55 pm


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