South Sea Foam – A. Safroni-Middleton (1920) (1st ed)


South Sea Foam – A. Safroni-Middleton (1920) (1st ed)


A fascinating travel account of the myths and traditions of some Pacific Islands, by a musician who played all around Asia including in Tokyo and Sarawak.

Title: South Sea Foam: The Romantic Adventures of a Modern Quixote in the Southern Seas

Author: A. Safroni-Middleton

Publisher: George H. Doran, New Yoyk, 1920. First edition.

Condition: Hardcover, no dust jacket. Fair. Cracked hinge to title page, threatening to come undone. Tanned spine. Inscription to endpaper. Deckle edges. Text clean. 350pp., app 8″ by 5″.

A fascinating account of the author’s travels to the islands of the South Seas (the Pacific islands near the equator), during which he attempted to collect indigenous Polynesian myths, legends and folklore. He also attempted to trace local religions and practices, which he found tricky due to the growth of Christianity in the region and the extensive missionary activity there.

The islands he travelled to include Samoa, Tahiti, Fiji, and the Marquesas Islands in French Polynesia. An invaluable source of local customs and tradition in the early 20th century.

About the author (from Wikipedia):

George Arnold Haynes Safroni-Middleton, also known as Count Safroni (3 September 1873 – 7 November 1950) was a British composer, director, violinist, harpist, writer and amateur astronomer. For several works he used the pseudonym William H. Myddleton.

Safroni-Middleton was born in Kent. He studied violin with Pablo de Sarasate and afterwards started performing as violinist. He played the violin in the Orchestra of “Her Majesty’s Theatre” in Sydney, the Orchestra of the Opera House in Auckland, the Providence Opera House in Providence (Rhode Island), the Tokyo Orchestra, the Government House (Sarawak) Orchestra and the Government House (Hayti) Mexico Orchestra. As solo performer he toured around Australia, South America, Italy and Spain.

Later he became bandmaster of the Orchestra of the Carl Rosa Opera Company in London.

As a writer he wrote many novels, travel guides and poems. He explored Borneo, Papua New Guinea and Malaysia.

As a composer he is mainly known for his marches and dance music for the harmony orchestra. His best known piece is probably Imperial Echoes (1913), which for many years was the theme of Radio Newsreel on BBC radio.

He died in Streatham and was buried at West Norwood Cemetery on 10 November 1950, age 77.