Isaak Iselin in Hawaiʻi, 1807

Intertextuality I – Task

It is hard to know what Isaak Iselin read prior to his journey, there being no list of his library and no comprehensive record in his writings. However, in several passages of his travelogue he hints that he was very familiar with the writings of James Cook and George Vancouver. This was because both men were well known for having left some of the fullest accounts of the Hawaiian Islands—or the Sandwich Islands, as the British named them—by the time Iselin visited in 1807.

James Cook was the captain of the first European ship to visit Hawaiʻi in 1778, during his third and final expedition to the Pacific. George Vancouver, present as an officer on this third expedition, visited the islands again as captain of the HMS Discovery in 1792.

Title page of the first volume of George Vancouver's 1798 travelogue.
Vancouver, George. A voyage of Discovery to the North Pacific Ocean, and round the world; (etc.). London: Printed for G. G. and J. Robinson (etc.), 1798.

  • Vancouver, George: A voyage of discovery to the North Pacific Ocean and round the world (...), London 1798, volume 1, second book, chapter 1, p. 154–155.

  • Iselin, Isaak: Journal of a trading voyage around the world, 1805–1808, New York 1897, p. 64–65.
Vancouver Iselin
arrangement of the text as a diary
English spelling of Hawaiian names
position data (longitude/latitude)
description of weather conditions
conducting of trade/gift exchange
reflections on the political state of Hawaiʻi
description of contact between Hawaiians and EuroAmericans