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Keywords:

  • Gulf of Maine;
  • islandness;
  • Monhegan Island;
  • Prince Edward Island;
  • Vinalhaven Island.

ABSTRACT. Islanders from different archipelagoes share a sense of islandness that transcends the particulars of local island culture. Islandness is a metaphysical sensation that derives from the heightened experience that accompanies physical isolation. Islandness is reinforced by boundaries of often frightening and occasionally impassable bodies of water that amplify a sense of a place that is closer to the natural world because you are in closer proximity to your neighbors. Islandness is a sense that is absorbed by islanders through the obstinate and tenacious hold of island communities, but visitors can also experience the sensation as an instantaneous recognition. Islandness thus helps maintain island communities in spite of daunting economic pressures to abandon them.