With these tales set across Oceania and Polynesia, Kellerman taps into the vogue for primitivist, exoticist
, and colonialist representations of non-European places, peoples, and customs (Woollacott 42-43).
Early in the novel he is seen by the other students at Princeton as "an exotic acquaintance" (19), and much later he describes himself to Erica (admittedly half-jokingly) as "an exotic foreigner given to role-playing" (153), thus seeming to accept this exoticist
Orientalizing image of himself.
Its illustrations betray the exoticist
fascination and colonial nostalgia found in visual productions throughout the region, but as Tiffin persuasively describes throughout the book, they are simultaneously illustrations of individually motivated aspirations, tinged with promise and regret, on the part of Raffles.
Lollobrigida had approached the Philippines from an Orientalist and exoticist
point of view by concentrating on nature scenery and photos which highlighted the Tasadays (supposedly a prehistoric tribe discovered by Manda Elizalde, who later turned out to be a hoax), while Guerrero Nakpil insisted that the book should not be about 'a Stone Age tribe in the jungles of Mindanao' but the '45 million people who don't live in trees.'
We tend to ignore that the local and localism are often engendered and sustained by a global exoticist
taste, which likes to see a shade of otherness in the periphery.
Austen's heroine emanates what Joep Leerssen terms England's "exoticist
desire to see Ireland as it really is" (57).
The excerpt quoted above is especially notable in that it relies both on the logic of natural science and on exoticist
fantasy to depict Tarchetti's brief existence as the doomed struggle of a tropical plant, born for the ideal climates of an exotic paradise, and destined to die because incapable of adapting to an "artificial" environment.
Such varied choices in cover art for this novel signal a tension of representation inherent to the novel itself, that is, the variations in cover art demonstrate an opposition between on the one hand, an assertion of feminine and proto-feminist autonomy and, on the other, an exoticist
subordination to the object of the male gaze.
Born in Manhattan and raised in New Jersey, Jones writes, "While tourists spend their time away from home seeking out the comforts of home, travelers risk--even cultivate--discomfort, because what they want is the thrill of a new perspective." The exoticist
chases the charm of the unfamiliar, but then must face the consequences of this addiction to geographical unfamiliarity.
And just as Ireland freed Yeats and especially Synge, Galicia freed Valle-Inclan from exoticist
modernism, which he fortunately entertained only fleetingly, and from the Castilianist modernism that has had such a lamentable and lasting influence on some others." (2)