241 pages, no illustrations
Ever since the dawn of human history, islands have been at the heart of our desires – and our fears. Drawing on anthropology, literature, biology, art, philosophy and earth science, Island tells the groundbreaking story of humans and islands throughout history, and celebrates islands as a central part of the world we live in. With a unique cross-disciplinary approach, encompassing everything from the wonder of an island's flora and fauna, to the geological roots of island formations, via references to popular culture, poetry and literature (including Prospero, Gulliver, Robinson Crusoe and the Count of Monte Cristo), Chamberlin tells the vivid and absorbing story of how islands have shaped human history, society and culture. Island celebrates islands for all their worth, whether real or invented, literal or fictitious, as a central part of the human narrative.
A marvellously ambitious book, Island provides a fascinating counterpoint to Judith Schalansky's Atlas of Remote Islands.
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J. Edward Chamberlin is Professor Emeritus of English and comparative literature at the University of Toronto. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, was a visiting professor at the University of Michigan, has lectured around the world, and received an honorary doctorate from the University of the West Indies. He is the author of Come Back to Me My Language; Horse; and If This Is Your Land, Where Are Your Stories? He lives in British Columbia.