The manuscript's title refers to his life before and after moving to Polynesia. The text reveals important insights into his life, while vivid anecdotes expose his often provocative opinions about art and literature. Gauguin challenges the hypocrisy and morality of his time and exposes the misdeeds of the colonial and church authorities in French Polynesia. He fails, however, to recognise his own racial stereotyping and misogyny. The text is interspersed with Gauguin's drawings and prints. Many revisit compositions that occupied his imagination throughout the decade he spent in Tahiti and the Marquesas. They reveal the profound influence of Polynesian culture on his art.