It helps to come to Islands & Cultures—a collection of essays focusing largely if not exclusively, as goes the subtitle, on “sustainability”—with at least some background on Polynesia, not because such background is necessary to follow the arguments in the various papers, but because otherwise one will be spending a great deal of time on the Internet chasing down one interesting reference after another.

Perhaps no place epitomizes Faulkner’s oft-quoted maxim that “the past is never dead” more than Jerusalem. And there are few other places where there is so little agreement about what the past was, or is. John D Hosler takes a particular slice through this history by focusing on “conquest: those ‘falls’, or moments from the seventh through the thirteenth century when possession of the city passed from adherents of one religious confession to another by way of conflict”—a story, he posits, that “is highly pertinent to its modern controversies.”

Development came to Macau relatively late and the city is therefore reasonably well-preserved by East Asian standards. But much, inevitably, has nevertheless been lost, as any perusal of old photographs immediately indicates. Photojournalist Gonçalo Lobo Pinheiro spent a year collecting old photos and then tried to match them to present-day Macau. The result is an intriguing photo-album.

Cold and rainy England and Scotland exerted what now seems a surprisingly strong pull on Italian opera composers of the first part of the 19th century. Gaetano Donizetti alone had a string of four operas about the Tudors, starting with Elisabetta al castello di Kenilworth and quickly followed by Anna Bolena, Maria Stuarda and finally Roberto Devereux.