The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives

By Hester Blum | Go to book overview

4    THE SEA EYE

In the first half of this book my aim has been to detail the participation of antebellum American sailors in literary print culture: how they achieved literacy, how they acquired and shared books while at sea, and what forms their own forays into authorship took. By the 1840s, sea writing was a wellestablished genre, and its practitioners drew on several important antecedents. Captivity in North Africa motivated the first collection of sailor writing. The nautical fictions of James Fenimore Cooper subsequently built on the interest in America’s maritime standing and history that emerged after the War of 1812, when sailors were relatively safer from piracy and impressment. The narrative model provided by Dana’s Two Years before the Mast, in turn, became the touchstone for the literary productions of dozens of common seamen. In discussing the literary culture of American sailors, I have been interested in how their working lives coexisted with—indeed, mutually drove—their imaginative lives. In the first three chapters, my attention to the intellectual lives of seamen has been focused on their reading practices and on the formal and rhetorical means through which their writings presented nautical experience to their audience. I now turn to the theoretical work that sailor narratives perform. The three chapters that follow explore the system of maritime knowledge of seamen’s narratives in its visual aspects, its textual incarnation, and its moments of failure.

In the second half of this book I propose that sailors developed a materialist epistemology by which the practices of mechanical labor become the empirical basis for both applied and imaginative knowledge.1 Their narratives insist on a recognition of the physical work that enables moments of reflection and speculation. Sailors were not unconscious mechanics; they accumulated knowledge through physical and mental work, yielding a generalized form of nautical expertise. In turn, this expertise allowed them to “read” the sea as a

-109-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
The View from the Masthead: Maritime Imagination and Antebellum American Sea Narratives
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Illustrations vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - The Sea Narrative and Sailors’ Literary Culture 17
  • 1 - The Literati of the Galley 19
  • 2 - Barbary Captivity and Intra-Atlantic Print Culture 46
  • 3 - Naval Memoirs and the Literary Marketplace 71
  • Part II - Maritime Epistemology and Crisis 107
  • 4 - The Sea Eye 109
  • 5 - The Galapagos and the Evolution of the Maritime Imagination 133
  • 6 - From Preface to Postscript- Death and Burial at Sea 158
  • Afterword 193
  • Notes 197
  • Bibliography 231
  • Index 257
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 271

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.