The Imaginary Sea Voyage: Sailing Away in Literature, Legend and Lore

The Imaginary Sea Voyage: Sailing Away in Literature, Legend and Lore

by James J. Bloom


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The Imaginary Sea Voyage: Sailing Away in Literature, Legend and Lore by James J. Bloom

For centuries, humankind has wondered what is "out there" and has embarked on countless voyages to find out. This book traces the history and literature of the imaginary voyage—stories of mariners journeying through uncharted waters to find strange and marvelous sights. Well-told tales of adventurous journeys—The Odyssey, The Aeneid, Gulliver's Travels, Robinson Crusoe, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea—conjure up images that transcend our mundane landscapes. Through the overlapping spheres of history, geography, cosmography and literary criticism, this book examines the mystique of what lies just over the horizon.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780786465255
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 10/25/2013
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 10.00(w) x 7.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

James J. Bloom began writing on military history as a consultant to the Historical Evaluation and Research Organization. His contributions have appeared in The International Military Encyclopedia and 100 Decisive Battles from Ancient Times to the Present. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.

Table of Contents

Preface 1

Introduction 3

1 Cataloguing Travels to Neverland: Attempts to Define the Genre 17

2 Hear-Say and Heresy: Ancient and Classical Cosmographies, 500 B.C.-A.D. 500 34

3 Blarney and Barnacles: Seafaring Legends of Celtic Exploration 63

4 Vikings Westward: Empirical and Non-Empirical Lore 72

5 Geography as Art and Dogma: Medieval Tales of Atlantic Isles 75

6 From Leif to Christopher: Apocryphal Voyages from the Norse Discoveries to Columbus 82

7 Following the Codfish to Hy-Brasil: Speculative-but-Possible Explorations by the Portuguese and English 90

8 The Age of Discovery and Its Legacy: The World According to the Explorers and Mapmakers 94

9 The Imaginary Voyage Genre as Literature, Allegory and Fairy Tale 106

10 Chasing the Mirage: The Atlantis Theme and Its Progeny 132

11 Lost Worlds and Hidden Civilizations: The Imaginary Island in Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1800-1950 145

12 The Intergalactic Ocean: The Transference of Imaginary Sea Voyage Imagery to the Spaceship 164

13 Posted Missing: Marooned in Wonderland? 172

14 By Magic Carpet from the Mundane to the Fabulous: Trans-Oceanic Zeppelins, Flying Boats and Staged Tropical Paradises 192

Conclusion-Through the Looking-Glass and Back Home Again: "World-Building" and the Enduring Appeal of Imaginary Voyages and Realms 234

Appendix I Dreamships and Cockleshells: The Vessels of Illusion 239

Appendix II A Note on Spiritism, Fantasy, Credibility and Credulity 253

Selectively Annotated Bibliography 257

Index 273

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