The Oxford Book of the Sea


It is no surprise that one of the earliest works in English literature should be a poem about the sea: the sea has been a source of fascination from the earliest times, and the Anglo-Saxon poem 'The Seafarer' is only the first in a long series of writings which ponder its mystery.

A powerful and restless presence in real life, the sea is one of the most ubiquitous and protean symbols in literature, changing in response to shifts in sensibility, and holding a mirror to all who confront it - Renaissance explorers and Augustan gentlemen, Romantic outcasts and Victorian travellers, small-boat sailors, naturalists and novelists, poets and oceanographers: men and women in a state of wonder before the sea.

Jonathan Raban brings a special awareness and knowledge to his role as editor; in the words of Colin Thubron, 'nobody of his generation writes more subtly or imaginatively on travel'.

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