Introduction: Shipboard Literary Cultures and the Stain of the Sea

Laurence J W Publicover, Susann Liebich

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter in a book


The introduction to the edited volume outlines the topics covered by the essays that follow and places them within historical and academic contexts. Turning for examples to several literary and non-literary texts, most notably the 1820s diaries of Edward Beck and Richard Henry Dana, Jr.’s Two Years Before the Mast (1840), it considers the differences and the continuities that prevail in shipboard environments across time, while also discussing the ways in which the human experience of time itself is complicated by seafaring. Particular attention is paid to the role of literary practices in shaping the experience of seafaring – to how such practices construct and reshape shipboard hierarchies, and also to how they help seafarers come to terms with the shipboard environment and with the ocean itself. While thus shaping shipboard cultures, the introduction argues, literary practices are also themselves affected – or ‘stained’ – by the ocean environment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationShipboard Literary Cultures: Reading, Writing, and Performing at Sea
EditorsLaurence Publicover, Susann Liebich
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan
Number of pages40
ISBN (Electronic)10.1007/978-3-030-85339-6_5
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-85338-9
Publication statusUnpublished - 5 Jan 2022

Publication series

NameMaritime Literature and Culture
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan


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