Great Sea Stories

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Great Sea Stories

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Great Sea Stories, by Various This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at
Title: Great Sea Stories
Author: Various
Editor: Joseph Lewis French
Release Date: May 16, 2006 [EBook #18405]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Al Haines


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


Copyright, 1921, by
All rights reserved

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

Song sung by labor gang.

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. Then came Captain Marryat, who was to the sea what Dickens and Thackeray were to land folk. America, too, contributed to this literary movement. Even before Marryat, our own Cooper had essayed the sea with a masterly hand, while in "Moby Dick," as in his other stories, Herman Melville glorified the theme. Continental writers like Victor Hugo and the Hungarian, Maurus Jokal, who had little personal knowledge of the subject, also set their hands to tales of marine adventure.
Such work as this has established a succession which has been continuous and progressive ever since. The literature of the sea of the past half-century is voluminous, varied and universally
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