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

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9780786465255: The Imaginary Sea Voyage: Sailing Away in Literature, Legend and Lore
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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.The author traces the imaginary voyage genre of literature back to the ancient Egyptians and Homer up through the Age of Exploration and the modern lost civilization mode. Descriptions include, literary, historical and quasi-geographical notions of sea voyages to realms both imagined and actual with comparisons between the sea voyage and fictional and real space travel. It also includes a discussion of modern efforts to actualize the fantasy voyage, such as expeditionary cruise ships, explorer yachts, residential/condo ships, floating cities, flying boats, dirigibles and "aero-trekking".Table of Contents

Preface 1
Introduction 3
One--Cataloguing Travels to Neverland: Attempts to Define the Genre 17
Two--Hear-Say and Heresy: Ancient and Classical Cosmographies, 500 B.C.-A.D. 500 34
Three--Blarney and Barnacles: Seafaring Legends of Celtic Exploration 63
Four--Vikings Westward: Empirical and Non-Empirical Lore 72
Five--Geography as Art and Dogma: Medieval Tales of Atlantic Isles 75
Six--From Leif to Christopher: Apocryphal Voyages from the Norse Discoveries to Columbus 82
Seven--Following the Codfish to Hy-Brasil: Speculative-but-Possible Explorations by the Portuguese and English 90
Eight--The Age of Discovery and Its Legacy: The World According to the Explorers and Mapmakers 94
Nine--The Imaginary Voyage Genre as Literature, Allegory and Fairy Tale 106
Ten--Chasing the Mirage: The Atlantis Theme and Its Progeny 132
Eleven--Lost Worlds and Hidden Civilizations: The Imaginary Island in Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1800-1950 145
Twelve--The Intergalactic Ocean: The Transference of Imaginary Sea Voyage Imagery to the Spaceship 164
Thirteen--Posted Missing: Marooned in Wonderland? 172
Fourteen--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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From the Author:

My interest in the imaginary voyage genre stems from my early (around age 11) reading of Gulliver's Travels and Robinson Crusoe, both of which my untutored mind assumed to be records of actual voyages. Living on the American Atlantic seaboard during my formative years also inspired my fascination with what was hidden behind the seam where sea met sky. I have since had the opportunity to read more widely about extraordinary traveling upon the oceans and am pleased to share my insights and discoveries with readers who may similarly have been mesmerized by sailor yarns and fictionalists' fantasies. I also "messed about in boats" during much of my adolescent years and often trained high powered Navy surplus binoculars on the horizon where I imagined all manner of phantom craft between sightings of real ships traversing the fickle Atlantic ocean.

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.

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