Books: Noble Savage

OMAI, FIRST POLYNESIAN AMBASSADOR TO ENGLAND—Thomas Blake Clark—Colt Press ($3.50).

Fanny Burney mentions him. Horace Walpole mentions him. Boswell mentions him. But Thomas Blake Clark's handsomely bound and printed book is the first full-length account of Omai (pronounced Oh, My!), the Polynesian Islander, who for two years (1774-76) was "the lyon of lyons" of London drawing rooms.

A year before the embattled farmers started shooting at Concord, bored British society was looking with almost unseemly eagerness for a noble savage. Rousseau had written that as civilization progresses, morals decline. Advanced Britons had reached...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!