ABSTRACT. Islands have long held a central place in Western cultures' mythical geographies. They have been associated for centuries with heroic journeys and holy quests, imagined realms of magical transformations. Islands have also been sites of significant rites of passage, and they continue to perform this function in the modern secular world. Today, popular islomania is expressed in the frequency of seasonal sojourning on European and American archipelagos. No longer destinations of permanent residence, islands now provide access to a sense of temporal and spatial rootedness that is no longer available on mainlands. They loom large on the mental maps even of those who rarely, if ever, visit them.