Poetry

The Tropical Paradise of Margaret Mead

“As the dawn begins to fall among the soft brown roofs and the slender palms stand out against a colourless gleaming sea, lovers slip home from trysts beneath the palm trees or in the shadow of the beached canoes, that the light may find each sleeper in his appointed place.” That is the twenty-three-year-old Margaret Mead in her ground-breaking classic of anthropology Coming of Age in Samoa (1928). I confess I have never been to Samoa myself, but then, according to the great and good Raymond Tallis, a sojourn of less than six weeks sufficed for “one of the Founding Mothers of Romantic Primitivism and … an inspirer of much New Age garbage”.

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