The Sea and the American Imagination


The Sea and the American Imagination

Klaus Benesch, Jon-K Adams, and Kerstin Schmidt, Editors

Transatlantic Perspectives, A Series of Interdisciplinary North American Studies

ISBN 3-86057-347-0

The Sea and the American Imagination brings together a group of renowned scholars and writers whose contributions attest to the ubiquity of the sea in American literature and culture. Writing from a decidedly transatlantic perspective, the 16 authors take a fresh look at both the historical conditions and aesthetic modes by which the sea is wed to the American imagination. The topics of the essays collected here range from Cotton Mather’s biblically encoded narratives of “Wonderful Sea Deliverances” to the more profane yet no less symbolic shipwrecks in the works of Norris, London and Crane; from Anne Bradstreet’s contemplations of the sea to seaward visions in American women’s writing of the nineteenth and twentieth century; from Sarah Josepha Hale’s utopian rewriting of the crossing to the New World in her 1853 novel Liberia to the re-imagining of the first encounter for the 1992 Columbiad; from Hawthorne’s and Melville’s critical assessment of modern naval warfare to a reassessment—one hundred years later—of Slocum’s low-tech, single-handed voyage around the world; and from Thoreau’s meditations by the sea to the use of sea metaphors in postmodern fiction.