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South PacificParadise Rewritten$
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Jim Lovensheimer

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195377026

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195377026.001.0001

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An Adaptable Source

An Adaptable Source

Michener’s Tales of the South Pacific

(p.35) 3 An Adaptable Source
South Pacific

Jim Lovensheimer

Oxford University Press

This chapter provides biographical information about James A. Michener’s involvement in, and writing about, World War II in the Pacific as well as an analysis of Tales of the South Pacific, the source for the characters and situations in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s musical. After noting the source of the name Bali Ha’i and the book’s unusual palindromic structure, the chapter discusses Michener’s thematic and narrative techniques, paying careful attention to his discussions of race and racial intolerance among servicemen and women in the Pacific theater. Finally, the chapter provides information drawn from Hammerstein’s notes on the book, found among his papers in the Library of Congress and thus far undiscussed in the literature on Hammerstein or South Pacific. These notes provide insight into Hammerstein’s earliest thoughts concerning the adaptation of Michener’s Pulitzer Prize–winning book. The chapter also introduces co-author and director Joshua Logan.

Keywords:   Hammerstein, South Pacific, James A. Michener, Tales of the South Pacific, Bali Ha’i, World War II in the Pacific, racial intolerance, Joshua Logan

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