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Jack London (1876 - 1916)

Jack London's most famous works The Call of the Wild (1903) and White Fang (1906) both took place in Northern America where he lived the gold rush. However, the author also traveled in the South Pacific.
In 1906, he built a yacht named Snark, refering to Melville's snake-shark in Alice in Wonderland. He embarked with his wife on his idols' steps, Melville and Stevenson, for a world-round trip starting with the Hawaiian islands, then the Marquesas, the Tuamotu, Tahiti, the Samoa, the Fiji… No sooner had he arrived in Nuku Hiva (Marquesas) that he went to the valley described by Melville in Typee : his dream had finally come true.

This travel in Pacific has inspired him different narratives, like The Turtles of Tasman (1916) or South Sea Tales (1911). Unfortunatly, as he was sick, he was forced to renounce his trip and stop in Australia to receive medical care (1909). Then, he went back to the United-States and traveled again in Hawaii or in the Horn Cap before he died of a lethal dose of morphine.

Pierre Loti (1850 - 1923)

Julien Viaud, who was born in 1850 in Britanny (France), is more famous under the nickname of Pierre Loti, that was given to him in Polynesia by Queen Pomare's court and that he adopted since 1876.
Accepted for the Naval College, his first trips allowed him to discover the Maditerranean Sea, Senegal, the United-States and South America.
Disillusioned by the industrial society, the writer continued his quest of the lost paradise, where would still exist a part of humanity that wouldn't have been depraved by civilisation.
In 1872, his quest led him to stop over for several weeks at Tahiti -where his brother had lived ten years before. During his stay, which left a deep impression on him, he made a series of drawings, watercolors and photos; and his different adventures in Polynesia inspired him a novel Loti's Wedding (1880).
In addition to his journal, largely published after his death, Loti let an unaccountable number of photos and drawings that complete wonderfully his narratives.

Herman Melville (1819 - 1891)

Melville was born in New York in 1819. He had different jobs before becoming a sailor in 1839. Early 1841, he embarked on a whaler in direction of the South Pacific.

After four years at sea, he finally deserted with a friend and joined the Marquesas Islands where he lived during a few weeks with the inhabitants of the Taipi valley, which inspired him his famous work Typee.

He left the Marquesas on board of a whaler but was forced to desembark in Tahiti after a mutiny. Another whaler took him to Hawaii, an episod which he used to start his second narrative Omoo (1847).
Melville's world is resolutely a world inspired by the sea. But the writer didn't sticked to a (too) simple narrative of his adventures : he gave to his works a mythical aspect, like in the very famous Moby Dick.

Victor Segalen (1878 - 1919)

Born in Britanny (France) in 1878, Jacques Segalen became a doctor in the navy in 1900 and embarked for Tahiti in 1902.

When he arrived in Tahiti in 1903, Gauguin was dead since May, 8th in the Marquesas Islands. Segalen decided to go on spot immediately : in 1903 and 1904, he collected Gauguin's latest works, which has permited to save what consitutes today a part of the Polynesian cultural heritage.

His travel inspired him a narrative, A Lapse of Memory (1907), which retraces the last moments of the Polynesian culture, erradicated by the colonists and the European missionnaries.Then, he lived during almost 10 years in China before coming back to France in 1918 where he died the following year.
Robert Louis Stevenson (1850 - 1894)
Born in Edimbourg in 1850, Robert Louis Stevenson had an adventourous life, inspite of ist bad health.
He met his future wife, the American Fanny Osbourne, in France. Living between France and the United-States, Stevenson wrote his main works : Treasure Island, More New Arabian Nights, Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde …

But during a very cold winter, Stevenson started dreaming about the South Sea Islands. In 1888, he visited the Marquesas, the Tuamotu, Hawaii, the Samoa, Australia, New-Zealand… and finally reached the Samoa where he lived until he died in 1894. His log entitled In the South-Sea Islands counts his incredible adventure and the amazing narratives that he had collected to the locals.