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Desert Islands opens with a captivating essay on the romance of islands and castaways in literature and life, and the associations that have arisen in the imagination of readers in every generation. The essay leads on to over 200 pages of what de la Mare himself calls ‘a rambling commentary’, in the form of an anthology or commonplace book on every conceivable aspect of this teeming subject. There are notes, reflections and quotations from a lifetime’s reading on wrecks, maroons, pirates, utopias, goats, hallucinations, exotic foods, misers, punishments, solitude , Darwin, parrots, idols, saints, hermits, maps, spices, drugs . . . and of course Daniel Defoe.
Desert Islands is the perfect bedside or holiday book. It also playfully boasts a subtitle of rococo inventiveness and one of the longest you will ever read!
‘A vast treasure chest, a bewildering collection . . . to dazzle and fascinate everyone who lifts the lid.’ Geoffrey Grigson
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