The Fall of Edward Barnard Historical Context

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Tahiti was first discovered by Europeans in 1767, in the expedition of the English Captain Samuel Wallis. Louis-Antoine de Bouganville followed in 1768, claiming the island for France. England's Captain James Cook followed in 1769. The island is actually two islands that are joined together by a small isthmus. Papeete, where much of "The Fall of Edward Barnard" takes place, lies on the northwestern coast. It is the biggest town on the island. The island of Moorea (Murea in the story) lies about twelve miles northwest of Tahiti.

Tahiti was ruled by the local Pomare dynasty until 1880, when the French assumed control. (The French influence can be detected in the name of the hotel de la Fleur in the story.) In 1891, the French artist Paul Gauguin (1848-1903) visited Tahiti, and the exotic location gave him inspiration for his art. He remained there for two years and returned in 1895.

Maugham had...

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This section contains 676 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Fall of Edward Barnard Study Guide
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Short Stories for Students
The Fall of Edward Barnard from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.