The sea and Great Lakes have inspired American authors from colonial times to the present to produce enduring literary works. This reference is a comprehensive survey of American sea literature. The scope of the encyclopedia ranges from the earliest printed matter produced in the colonies to contemporary experiments in published prose, poetry, and drama. The book also acknowledges how literature gives rise to adaptations and resonances in music and film and includes coverage of nonliterary topics that have nonetheless shaped American literature of the sea and Great Lakes.
The alphabetical arrangement of the reference facilitates access to facts about major literary works, characters, authors, themes, vessels, places, and ideas that are central to American sea literature. Each of the several hundred entries is written by an expert contributor and many provide bibliographical information. While the encyclopedia includes entries for white male canonical writers such as Herman Melville and Jack London, it also gives considerable attention to women at sea and to ethnically diverse authors, works, and themes. The volume concludes with a chronology and a list of works for further reading.
Aimed at scholars as well as casual readers, this volume provides a unique compilation of information about maritime writing and its contexts....Recommended for larger collections and those with a maritime focus.
This work is well done and is certainly a must-purchase for reference collections that are strong in American literature.
...this is a remarkable book that is heartily recommended to all academic and public libraries with any interest in American literature or in the oceans or Great Lakes. One would only hesitate to assign this book to the Reference shelves, since its sparkling, contagious enthusiasm makes it as enjoyable as it is informative.
[T]his reference work provides considerable information about and insight into the nation's long encounter with the oceans and great inland seas, beginning with the earliest printed matter produced in the colonies and continuing up to contemporary experiments in published prose, poetry, and drama.
The ^IEncyclopedia of American Literature of the Sea and Great Lakes^R is a genuinely fascinating resource of real scope and depth. Readers may perusing one author and find themselves on a trail that winds from entry to entry. It is easy to spend an afternoon leafing through the pages of this work. I have run into most of the 20th century authors I am familiar with, and many others I am not, perusing this book. The entries are well-written by a wide-range of scholars, each entry with several references for further research, and all amply cross-referenced. Hats off to the editors who have brought this wonderful volume to life. And, after many days of reading, I am left with one paramount need; as James Dickey says, `I must go to water.'
The principal value of this volume will come through its service as an easy reference to consult for information on any aspect of American sea literature: but much of the illumination--and the pleasure--will be gained by letting the eyes and mind drift from page to page among the many intriguing entries likely to be known only to specialists in the field as well as among the more familiar names and titles.