restricted access Dreams of Melanesia: Masculinity and the Exorcism of War in Pat Barker's The Ghost Road

The culminating vision and transformative power of Pat Barker's The Ghost Road are produced by the cross-cultural insights embedded in the novel's critically neglected Melanesian material. It is through W. H. R. Rivers's repeated wartime memories and dreams about his 1908 expedition to Melanesia to study primitive kinship relationships as a medical anthropologist that he ironically comes to understand the barbaric elements of his own inculcated ideology of British manhood, war and civilization. Rivers's dreams of Melanesia enact and ultimately help him resolve his increasing ambivalence about his institutional role as military psychologist and state advocate for the war effort.