April 12, 2011

Seafaring Stories

If you want to listen to some mood music while scanning this, try The Library of Congress American Memory Collection: Sailor's Alphabet (though these particular sailors don't sound at all merry, just ancient) .

OK. We have found that timid lubbers, people who have never encountered anything more sophisticated than a canoe or row-boat, occasionally trip over a sea story and fall in love. Passionately. Completely by accident. Curiously, the gender of the reader doesn't seem to matter.

Here is an annotated list of some of the great stories: 101 Crackerjack Sea Books.

It goes on through many pages but, as summary, the authors' top dozen are:

  1. The Odyssey
  2. Moby-Dick
  3. Conrad's short sea fiction
  4. Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey-Maturin series
  5. Kon-Tiki
  6. Two Years Before the Mast
  7. Das Boot
  8. The Journals of Captain Cook
  9. Hornblower series, C. S. Forester
  10. South: The Last Antarctic Expedition of Shackleton and the Endurance
  11. The Mutiny on the Bounty Trilogy by Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall
  12. The Old Man and the Sea
The other 89? Great reads beginning with The Voyage of the Beagle, Robinson Crusoe, Lord Jim and on and on.

On through the list. Have you read The Story of a Shipwrecked Sailor by Gabriel Garcķa Mįrquez? The Toilers of the Sea, Victor Hugo?

Note: for those who were captivated by the book or movie, The Perfect Storm comes in near the top, at number 23.

On matters nautical, here is a bit of the Seafarer

Foržon nu min hyge hweorfeš And now my spirit twists
ofer hrežerlocan, out of my breast,
min modsefa my spirit
mid mereflode, out in the waterways,
ofer hwęles ežel over the whale's path
hweorfeš wide, it soars widely
eoržan sceatas through all the corners of the world
cymeš eft to me it comes back to me
gifre ond grędig; eager and unsated;
gielleš anfloga, the lone-flier screams,
hweteš on hwęlweg urges onto the whale-road
hrežer unwearnum the unresisting heart
ofer holma gelagu. across the waves of the sea.
(from anglo-saxons.net)

Ezra Pound's partial translation of this same 8th Century poem:

Posted by library at April 12, 2011 04:39 PM
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