chapter  5
29 Pages

Two Years in the French West Indies

The manuscript in question was 'A Midsummer Trip to the Tropics', which was acquired by Alden for Harper's Magazine. It was published in 1890 as part of Two Years in the French West Indies, of which it formed nearly a quarter. The article was based on notes taken on a voyage of 3000 miles, lasting less than two months. The writing has a staccato, telegraphic quality of impressions jotted down in a notebook with, in his own words, 'sundry justifiable departures from simple note-making'. 3 While it lacks the smoothness of his best Japanese writing, there is at the same time a reaching towards the simplicity which characterised that later work.