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Arthur Grove Day studied at Stanford University before taking up a position as Professor of English at the University of Hawaii in the late 1940s. He taught a class in Pacific literature that had been established in 1936. According to critic Paul Lyons, this course contributed to 'a gradual shift in the consideration of Pacific texts from the anthropological to the literary' (55).
Early reviewers of Day's work praised him for adopting a semipopular tone in his literary and historical discussions. He published anthologies of writings by famous travellers who visited Hawaii as well as collections of histories and legends of the Pacific and the South Seas. The adventures and exploits of some infamous pirates who operated in the Pacific between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries remained a source of interest throughout Day's career. Day's depiction of race relations has attracted severe criticism from Paul Lyons.
A prolific author and popular Hawaii historian, Day wrote or edited more than fifty books in the course of his working life. The obituaries published on his death underscore his contributions to the study and appreciation of Pacific literature. His interest in the Pacific extended across the ocean to encompass Australian writing and history. In 1960 he published The Story of Australia, from before its discovery by Europeans to the beginning of the twentieth century. He also wrote critical studies on Pacific Island trader and novelist Louis Becke. In the decades between 1950 and 1980 Day visited Australia on several occasions. On one of these stays he travelled to Varuna to meet novelist Eleanor Dark, who would become the subject of one of his two Australian-themed contributions to Joseph Jones's Twayne's World Authors Series.
According to Lyons, 'Only two of Day's books were large commercial successes, one an anthology, The Greatest American Short Story (1953), the other a collaboration with James Michener entitled Rascals in Paradise (1955), which was a national best-seller for ten weeks.'
Day was also interested in the works of other English-language writers such as Mark Twain (Day compiled a volume of letters the author wrote from Hawaii) and Jack London. Day contributed to the field of literary studies, as well as to the exact sciences, as he was one of the founding editors of Pacific Science: A Quarterly Devoted to the Biological and Physical Sciences of the Pacific Region, established in 1947. He also pledged funds to establish a University Press publication to be called Pacific Humanities Journal.
Grove Day died in Hawaii in 1994, after suffering a fall.