Mutiny and Aftermath: James Morrison's Account of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the Island of Tahiti
368pp. September 2013
Mutiny and Aftermath: James Morrison's Account of the Mutiny on the Bounty and the Island of Tahiti
Editor: Smith, Vanessa; Thomas, Nicholas;
The mutiny on the Bounty was one of the most controversial events of eighteenth-century maritime history. This book publishes a full and absorbing narrative of the events by one of the participants, the boatswain's mate James Morrison, who tells the story of the mounting tensions over the course of the voyage out to Tahiti, the fascinating encounter with Polynesian culture there, and the shocking drama of the event itself.

In the aftermath, Morrison was among those who tried to make a new life on Tahiti. In doing so, he gained a deeper understanding of Polynesian culture than any European who went on to write about the people of the island and their way of life before it was changed forever by Christianity and colonial contact. Morrison was not a professional scientist but a keen observer with a lively sympathy for Islanders. This is the most insightful and wide-ranging of early European accounts of Tahitian life.

Mutiny and Aftermath is the first scholarly edition of this classic of Pacific history and anthropology. It is based directly on a close study of Morrison’s original manuscript, one of the treasures of the Mitchell Library in Sydney, Australia. The editors assess and explain Morrison’s observations of Islander culture and social relations, both on Tubuai in the Austral Islands and on Tahiti itself. The book fully identifies the Tahitian people and places that Morrison refers to and makes this remarkable text accessible for the first time to all those interested in an extraordinary chapter of early Pacific history.

27 illus., 2 maps
“Morrison’s Account of the Mutiny on the Bounty has been known to scholars and students through Owen Rutter’s 1935 edition. Smith and Thomas draw on all the relevant scholarship in the seventy-five years since this edition, as well as their own distinguished research and expert understanding of Pacific cultures, to provide readers with an impeccable work of scholarship that will be an essential point of reference for all future writing on Tahiti at the time of first contact as well as on the Bounty mutiny itself.”—Rod Edmond, University of Kent

“This book is a model work of scholarship. It shows how a critical edition can do more than just make a valuable text freshly available to readers; it can also illuminate an entire field of scholarship. Readers will be grateful for what Smith and Thomas have achieved in this painstaking, up-to-date presentation of Morrison’s account of two subjects of lasting interest, the Bounty mutiny and Tahiti in the era of early contact.” —Harry Liebersohn, University of Illinois
Editor: Smith, Vanessa; Thomas, Nicholas;
Vanessa Smith is Associate Professor in the Department of English, University of Sydney. Nicholas Thomas is Director of the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Cambridge, and a fellow of Trinity College.
Read the Introduction (PDF).
List of Illustrations 


Part I. The Journal: Mutiny, Mutineers, Islanders 
1. The Voyage and the Mutiny 
2. The Occupation of Tubuai 
3. Return to Tahiti 
4. From Tahiti to England 

Part II. The Account: The Island of Tahiti 
5. The Tahitian World 
6. Tahitian Society, History, and Culture 
7. Arts, Rites, and Customs 

Appendix I: Morrison’s Polynesian Words and Terms 
Appendix II: Morrison’s People 
Appendix III: Morrison’s Place-names 
Appendix IV: Morrison’s Plants 
Select Bibliography