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

By Hester Blum | Go to book overview

NOTES

INTRODUCTION

1. Melville, Moby-Dick, 158–59.

2. In the epigraph, Morell adapts a line from “Tom Tough,” a popular sea chantey by the prolific composer Charles Dibdin. In the original lyric, sailors “love and feel like other folks,” not “feel and think” (emphases added); Morell’s misquotation remembers his fellow seamen as thinkers. See Morell, Narrative of Four Voyages, 254.

3. As Cesare Casarino observes, sea labor is “altogether resistant to the increasingly parcelized and mechanic rhythms of an industrial environment such as the factory” (Modernity at Sea, 54). See also Rediker, Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea.

4. Emerson, Nature, in Essays and Lectures, 10.

5. Dana, Two Years before the Mast, 38–39.

6. Thomas Philbrick, the most comprehensive chronicler of American sea writing (although his focus is overwhelmingly on novels and other fictions), explains, “With the end of hostilities in 1815 the country entered what has aptly been called the golden age of American shipping, a period of thirty-five years during which American seamen came to challenge and even to displace the British hegemony of many of the most important areas of maritime activity.” After the whaling industry collapsed following the discovery of petroleum (which was easier to mine and therefore cheaper fuel than whale oil) in 1859, after the completion of the transcontinental railroad, and after the rise of the steamship, the age of sail was reduced to more of a sporting interest. Philbrick further writes, “The year 1850 … is a convenient point at which to fix the start of the abrupt decline of American nautical activity and interest, a decline that reduced the United States from supremacy in many of the most important areas of commerce and shipping to near extinction as a maritime power in the years following the Civil War” (Philbrick, James Fenimore Cooper and the Development of American Sea Fiction, 2, 260).

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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
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