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Great Sea Stories   By: (1858-1936)

Book cover

First Page:

GREAT SEA STORIES

EDITED BY

JOSEPH LEWIS FRENCH

Editor "Great Ghost Stories," "Masterpieces of Mystery," "The Best Psychic Stories," etc.

NEW YORK

BRENTANO'S

PUBLISHERS

Copyright, 1921, by

BRENTANO'S

All rights reserved

CONTENTS

Spanish Bloodhounds and English Mastiffs From "Westward Ho!" By CHARLES KINGSLEY

The Club Hauling of the Diomede From "Peter Simple." By CAPTAIN FREDERICK MARRYAT

The Cruise of the Torch From "Tom Cringle's Log." By MICHAEL SCOTT

The Merchantman and the Pirate From "Hard Cash." By CHARLES READE

The Mutiny of the Bounty From "Chamber's Miscellany." ANONYMOUS

The Wreck of the Royal Caroline From "The Red Rover." By JAMES FENNIMORE COOPER

The Capture of the Great White Whale From "Moby Dick." By HERMAN MELVILLE

The Corvette Claymore From "Ninety three." By VICTOR HUGO

The Merchants' Cup From "Broken Stowage." By DAVID W. BONE

A Storm and a Rescue From "The Wreck of the Grosvenor ." By W. CLARK RUSSELL

The Sailor's Wife From "An Iceland Fisherman." By PIERRE LOTI

The Salving of the Yan Shan From "In Blue Waters." By H. DE VERE STACKPOOLE

The Derelict Neptune From "Spun Gold." By MORGAN ROBERTSON

The Terrible Solomons From "South Sea Tales." By JACK LONDON

El Dorado From "A Tarpaulin Muster." By JOHN MASEFIELD

ILLUSTRATION

Song sung by labor gang.

FOREWORD

The theme of the sea is heroic epic. Since the first stirrings of the imagination of man the sea has enthralled him; and since the dawn of literature he has chronicled his wanderings upon its vast bosom.

It is one of the curiosities of literature, a fact that old Isaac Disraeli might have delighted to linger over, that there have been no collectors of sea tales; that no man has ever, as in the present instance, dwelt upon the topic with the purpose of gathering some of the best work into a single volume. And yet men have written of the sea since 2500 B.C. when an unknown author set down on papyrus his account of a struggle with a sea serpent. This account, now in the British Museum, is the first sea story on record. Our modern sea stories begin properly with the chronicles of the early navigators in many of which there is an unconscious art that none of our modern masters of fiction has greatly surpassed. For delightful reading the lover of sea stories is referred to Best's account of Frobisher's second voyage to Richard Chancellor's chronicle of the same period to Hakluyt, an immortal classic and to Purchas' "Pilgrimage."

But from the earliest growth of the art of fiction the sea was frankly accepted as a stirring theme, comparatively rarely handled because voyages were fewer then, and the subject still largely unknown. To the general reader it may seem a rather astounding fact that in "Robinson Crusoe" we have the first classic of this period and in "Colonel Jack" another classic of much the same type. These two stories by the immortal Defoe may be accepted as the foundation of the sea tale in literary art.

A century, however, was to elapse before the sea tale came into its own. It was not until a generation after Defoe that Smollett, in "Roderick Random," again stirred the theme into life. Fielding in his "Voyage to Lisbon" had given some account of a personal experience, but in the general category it must be set down as simply episodal. Foster's "Voyages," a translation from the German published in England at the beginning of the third quarter of the eighteenth century, a compendium of monumental importance, continued the tradition of Hakluyt and Purchas. By this time the sea power of England had become supreme, Britannia ruled the waves, and a native sea literature was the result. The sea songs of Thomas Dibdin and other writers were the first fruits of this newly created literary nationalism.

Shortly after the beginning of the nineteenth century the sea writer established himself with Michael Scott in "Tom Cringle's Log," a forgotten, but ever fresh classic... Continue reading book >>




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