5 Books About the Sea That We Should All Sail Through
5 books that will acquaint us to the ocean’s library by the hand of the best writers.
Storytelling is intrinsic to the sea. Ever since man learned to navigate great distances he has been entertained by telling and listening to stories. And although it is true that life at sea can be tedious and solitary, it is in those long hours where things happen. There is no empty time (as Edward Hopper made clear); there is time when the wind fills the sails in a certain way or the wake of a ship sounds rougher than ever. Things happen at sea, if you don’t believe this just ask Ahab or Odysseus, the Ancient Mariner or old Marlow.
It is said that every great book is an answer to another. Certainly, many books about the sea have inspired another journey, which in turn has inspired another book. The more one reads about the sea, the more one understands the interconnection of the great library of the ocean. Mariners and writers have been able to create an enormous literary body over the waves.
The following list is an infinitesimal selection of the existent marine corpus, and it does not focus on genres or literary periods. It is, however, a good vessel to set out to the sea by the hand of the greatest literary captains.
Moby Dick, Herman Melville
Of course: Moby Dick, which despite few have been able to reach its end, has enormous rewards. Very few sailors have been utterly bewitched by the call of the abyss like Ishmael, who lives “tormented with an everlasting itch for things remote.” This consecrated novel contains some of the most overwhelming passages —in the most poetic sense— about the immensity, madness, indifference and wholeness of the sea.
“The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, Samuel Taylor. Coleridge
A long and narrative poem that, for many modern readers, has superseded both Homer and the Bible as the first and deepest source of our maritime imagery. The ancient mariner, like the sea, is condemned to repeat himself, and to hold the memory of all the ghosts that have sojourned its waves.
Poems of the Sea, ed. D. McClatchy
This is a poetic anthology, yes, but few volumes have managed to contain as many nautical fears, dreams and nostalgias in a single, beautiful and pocketsize book. The legends of pirates and mermaids, the ghost ships and the sunken city of Atlantis inspired as many imaginations as lighthouses and shipwrecks, algae and icebergs did. Everything is here.
The Sea Inside, Philip Hoare
In this book of essays, Hoare (who previously wrote the wonderful Leviathan or The Whale) makes a collage of memories, cultural history and travel logs, and a pilgrimage to increasingly distant oceans to swim with whales and dolphins. He also describes literary and artistic figures, scientists and adventurers that have left traces in the locations he visits through his expeditions. His narration is clear and vibrant “Running like a braid of coloured water through the whirls and eddies of The Sea Inside is the author’s inner struggle,” comments Caspar Henderson for The Guardian.
The Waves, Virgina Woolf
Woolf’s most experimental novel, The Waves is considered a poetic jewel. Even if it does not speak directly of the sea, it speaks of that “oceanic feeling” which Freud spoke of, and the lyrical prose evokes a feeling of continuity in a sea of disassociations. We, together with the characters, are sand, coral, algae, driftwood, tides, swimmers, children and… the waves.
Pictorial spiritism (a woman's drawings guided by a spirit)
There are numerous examples in the history of self-taught artists which suggest an interrogation of that which we take for granted within the universe of art. Such was the case with figures like
Astounding fairytale illustrations from Japan
Fairy tales tribal stories— are more than childish tales. Such fictions, the characters of which inhabit our earliest memories, aren’t just literary works with an aesthetic and pleasant purpose. They
A cinematic poem and an ode to water: its rhythms, shapes and textures
Here lies One Whose Name was writ in Water. - John Keats Without water the equation of life, at least life as we know it, would be impossible. A growing hypothesis holds that water, including the
Watch beauty unfold through science in this "ode to a flower" (video)
The study of the microscopic is one of the richest, most aesthetic methods of understanding the world. Lucky is the scientist who, upon seeing something beautiful, is able to see all of the tiny
To invent those we love or to see them as they are? Love in two of the movies' favorite scenes
So much has been said already, of “love” that it’s difficult to add anything, much less something new. It’s possible, though, perhaps because even if you try to pass through the sieve of all our
This app allows you to find and preserve ancient typographies
Most people, even those who are far removed from the world of design, are familiar with some type of typography and its ability to transform any text, help out dyslexics or stretch an eight page paper
The secrets of the mind-body connection
For decades medical research has recognized the existence of the placebo effect — in which the assumption that a medication will help produces actual physical improvements. In addition to this, a
The sea as infinite laboratory
Much of our thinking on the shape of the world and the universe derives from the way scientists and artists have approached these topics over time. Our fascination with the mysteries of the
Sharing and collaborating - natural movements of the creative being
We might sometimes think that artistic or creative activity is, in essence, individualistic. The Genesis of Judeo-Christian tradition portrays a God whose decision to create the world is as vehement
John Malkovich becomes David Lynch (and other characters)
John Malkovich and David Lynch are, respectively, the actor and film director who’ve implicitly or explicitly addressed the issues of identity and its porous barriers through numerous projects. Now