Raban's introduction constitutes an important essay on the meaning of the sea in literature, and the pieces he has chosen display the exhilarating richness of writing in the tradition. Alongside extracts from the acknowledged marine masterpieces are many unexpected delights: Emily Dickinson's affirmative poem'Exhalation is the Going'; a meditation on a seaside holiday by Larkin; Jane Austen's tart satirizing of Byron's Romanticized sea; Thoreau's contemplation of monsters and lost anchors off Cape Cod; Willard Bascom's brilliantly observed description of breaking waves. As richly varied and enthralling as the sea itself, this sparkling collection spans the centuries from AD 900 to the present and forms a unique and important body of writing to delight in and admire.
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