Colonial Memories: Anxieties, Environment and Cultural Encounter in Paul Green’s The Lost Colony


  • I-Chun Wang Kaohsiung Medical University


This paper examines colonial anxiety in Roanoke Island as represented in Paul Green’s The Lost Colony, a symphony drama first performed in 1937. Roanoke colony can be referred to 1583 when the British attempted settlement which resulted in the abandonment of the colony. The second expedition to Roanoke was designed by Sir Walter Raleigh and launched in 1587 by one hundred and seventeen people headed by John White and Captain Ananias Dare; this group of colonists established the first British colony in America; in need of supplies, John White and his several followers went back to Britain and were detained for the war against Spain. When John White came back after three years, he failed tracing the colonists and the whereabouts of the colonists have been a mystery. Paul Green’s symphony drama ends with the abandonment of the colony instead of the parish of the colonists. As a cultural memory of the colonial history, Green looks into colonial anxieties over severe weather, environment and conflicts with the local tribes. This paper looks into the discourses of early migrants and brings to light Paul Green’s concern of early settlers’ management of environment in late sixteenth century on Roanoke Island.