Few things, even in literature, can really be said to be unique — but Moby Dick is truly unlike anything written before or since. The novel is nominally about the obsessive hunt by the crazed Captain Ahab of the book’s eponymous white whale. But interspersed in that story are digressions, paradoxes, philosophical riffs on whaling and life, and a display of techniques so advanced for its time that some have referred to the 1851 Moby Dick as the first “modern” novel.
(Summary by Stewart Wills)
Stevenson, Robert Louis
A mysterious map, pirates, and pieces of eight! When young Jim Hawkins finds a map to pirates’ gold he starts on an adventure that takes him from his English village to a desert island with the murderous Black Dog, half-mad Ben Gunn, and (of course) Long John Silver. Arr Jim lad! R.L. Stevenson (1850-1894) was born in Scotland and travelled extensively in California and the south Pacific. (Summary by Adrian Praetzellis)
Shipwrecked and castaway, Daniel DeFoe’s hard-luck character is still the standard for “growing where you’re planted.” Captured by pirates, he makes his break in a small boat and undergoes desperate adventures before winning his way back to civilization. But Crusoe proves willing to chance his luck a second time when, after sweating his way to prosperity as a planter in Brazil, he undertakes a voyage that isn’t needful… and is marooned on a small island off South America...
Coleridge, Samuel Taylor
For killing an albatross, the mariner and his crew are punished with drought and death. Amidst a series of supernatural events, the mariner's life alone is spared and he repents, but he must wander the earth and tell his tale with the lesson that "all things great and small" are important.
(Summary written by Gesine)
Set in a time of oppressive colonisation, when large areas of the world were still unknown to Europe, and Africa was literally on maps and minds as a mysterious shadow, Heart of Darkness famously explores the rituals of civilisation and barbarism, and the frighteningly fine line between them. We get the tale through a classic unreliable narrator, relating as Marlow, a ship’s captain, tells how he was sent by the Company to retrieve the wayward Kurtz, and was shaken to discover the true d...
Poe, Edgar Allan
This, the third of 5 volumes containing Poe's works, contains 6 of his short stories as well as Poe's only complete novel, The Narrative of A. Gordon Pym. In it, Arthur Gordon Pym stows away on a whaling vessel and experiences shipwreck, mutiny, and other adventures in typical Poe fashion. (Introduction by TriciaG)
Professor Pierre Aronnax is an academic whose thirst for knowledge carries him out of his ivory tower and on the trail of a mysterious sea beast. His curiosity at last is satiated when he finds himself in the belly of the beast-- that is, on board the incredible submarine the Nautilus, courtesy of its mysterious pilot Captain Nemo and in the company of his servant Conseil and sailor Ned Land. (Introduction by Piper Hale)
The Sea-Wolf is a novel written in 1904 by American author Jack London. An immediate bestseller, the first printing of forty thousand copies was sold out before publication. Of it, Ambrose Bierce wrote "The great thing—and it is among the greatest of things—is that tremendous creation, Wolf Larsen... the hewing out and setting up of such a figure is enough for a man to do in one lifetime." (Summary by Wikipedia)
Señor Gould is a native Costaguanan of English descent who owns the silver-mining concession in Sulaco. He is tired of the political instability in Costaguana and its concomitant corruption, and puts his weight behind the Ribierist project, which he believes will finally bring stability to the country after years of misrule and tyranny by self-serving dictators. Instead, the silver mine and the wealth it has generated become a magnet for local warlords to fight over, plunging Costaguana into a n...
A young untested ship captain finds a man named Leggatt clinging to the side of his ship. The Captain makes the unusual decision to hide Leggatt in his quarters. What is he thinking? Conrad will tell us. - The Secret Sharer was first published in the August and September 1910 issues of Harper’s Magazine (Summary by Gregg Margarite)
This is the story of a voyage of a merchant sailing ship from Bombay to England, set in the very late 19th century. “It was a bad winter off the Cape that year.” From Wikepedia: “The novel is seen as an allegory about isolation and solidarity, the ship's company serving as a microcosm of a social group.” As to the title, one can only ask, “What WERE you thinking?” (Introduction by Tom Crawford)
Shackleton's most famous expedition was planned to be an attempt to cross Antarctica from the Weddell Sea south of the Atlantic, to the Ross Sea south of the Pacific, by way of the Pole. It set out from London on 1 August 1914, and reached the Weddell Sea on January 10, 1915, where the pack ice closed in on the Endurance. The ship was broken by the ice on 27 October 1915. The 28 crew members managed to flee to Elephant Island, bringing three small boats with them...
Burroughs, Edgar Rice
The Land That Time Forgot is a science fiction novel, the first of Edgar Rice Burroughs' Caspak trilogy. His working title for the story was "The Lost U-Boat." Starting out as a harrowing wartime sea adventure, the story ultimately develops into that of a fantastical lost world. (Adapted from Wikipedia.)
Containing many realistic details based on Childers' own sailing trips along the German North Sea coast, the book is the retelling of a yachting expedition in the early 20th century combined with an adventurous spy story.It was one of the early invasion novels which predicted war with Germany and called for British preparedness. The plot involves the uncovering of secret German preparations for an invasion of the United Kingdom...
This is a detailed and accurate account of the most
awful marine disaster in history, constructed from the real facts as obtained from those on board who survived (gutenberg.org).
Typee is Herman Melville's first book, recounting his experiences after having jumped ship in the Marquesas Islands in 1842, and becoming a captive of a cannibal island tribe. It was an immediate success in America and England, and was Melville's most popular work during his lifetime. It was not until the end of the 1930's that it was surpassed in popularity by Moby Dick, more than thirty years after his death...
Edgar Allan Poe's telling of Arthur Pym's narrative is shown to be true as events come together that bring out clues that help Captain Len Guy trace the fate of his brother's ship the Jane; the very ship that Arthur Pym was on board at the time of his disappearance. Through the efforts of Mr. Joerling, the crew of the Halbrane is enticed to make the trip to Antarctica to search for any survivors of the Jane.
The Sea Hawk is a novel by Rafael Sabatini, originally published in 1915. The story is set in the late 16th century, and concerns a Cornish sea-faring gentleman, Sir Oliver Tressilian, who is villainously betrayed by a jealous brother. After being forced to serve as a slave on a Spanish galley, Sir Oliver is liberated by Barbary pirates. He joins the pirates under the name "Sakr-el-Bahr", the hawk of the sea, and swears vengeance against his brother. (Summary from Wikipedia)
Typhoon is a short novel by Joseph Conrad, begun in 1899 and published in Pall Mall Magazine in 1902. It is a classic sea yarn that describes how Captain Macwhirr sails the Siamese steamer Nan-Shan into a typhoon. Other characters include the young Jukes and Solomon, the head engineer. The novel classically evokes the sea-faring life at the turn of the century. While Macwhirr is emotionally estranged from his family and crew, and though he refuses to consider an alternate course to...
This is the story of a man’s monumental struggle against nature, to win the hand of the woman he loves, and surmount every difficulty that Nature puts in his path (Summary by Alisson Veldhuis)
The book tells the story of the quest for Captain Grant of the Britannia. After finding a bottle cast into the ocean by the captain himself after the Britannia is shipwrecked, Lord and Lady Glenarvan of Scotland decide to launch a rescue expedition. The main difficulty is that the coordinates of the wreckage are mostly erased, and only the latitude (37 degrees) is known.Lord Glenarvan makes it his quest to find Grant; together with his wife, Grant's children and the crew of his yacht the Du...
Montgomery, Lucy Maud
Lucy Maud Montgomery was born at Clifton (now New London), Prince Edward Island, Canada, on November 30, 1874. She achieved international fame in her lifetime, putting Prince Edward Island and Canada on the world literary map. Best known for her "Anne of Green Gables" books, she was also a prolific writer of short stories and poetry. She published some 500 short stories and poems and twenty novels before her death in 1942...
This book tells of a girl named Alice falling through a rabbit hole into a fantasy world populated by peculiar, anthropomorphic creatures.