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)
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)
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...
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...
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)
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)
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.)
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...
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...
In this saga, the events that led to Eirik the Red's banishment to Greenland are chronicled, as well as Leif Eirikson's discovery of Vinland the Good (a place where wheat and grapes grew naturally), after his longboat was blown off-course. By geographical details, this place is surmised to be present-day Newfoundland, and is likely the first European discovery of the American mainland, some five centuries before Christopher Columbus's journey. (Summary from Wikipedia.)
Authentic Narratives of the Most Celebrated Sea Robbers.
A Voyage to the South Sea, undertaken by command of His Majesty, for the purpose of conveying the Bread-fruit tree to the West Indies, in His Majesty’s ship The Bounty, commanded by Lieutenant William Bligh. Including an account of the Mutiny on board the said ship, and the subsequent voyage of part of the crew, in the ship’s boat, from Tofoa, one of the Friendly Islands, to Timor, a Dutch settlement in the East Indies. (Summary is the full title)
This is a tale based on Melville's experiences aboard the USS United States from 1843 to 1844. It comments on the harsh and brutal realities of service in the US Navy at that time, but beyond this the narrator has created for the reader graphic symbols for class distinction, segregation and slavery aboard this microcosm of the world, the USS Neversink. (Introduction by James K. White)
An Outcast of the Islands is the second novel by Joseph Conrad, published in 1896, inspired by Conrad's experience as mate of a steamer, the Vigar. The novel details the undoing of Peter Willems, a disreputable, immoral man who, on the run from a scandal in Makassar, finds refuge in a hidden native village, only to betray his benefactors over lust for the tribal chief's daughter. The story features Conrad's recurring character Tom Lingard, who also appears in Almayer's Folly (1895) and The Rescu...
Three men down on their luck in Tahiti agree to ship out on a vessel whose officers have died of smallpox. Their desperate venture inspires them to a further idea: they will steal the schooner and its cargo of champagne, sell them, and live a plentiful life. The thought is intoxicating... and so is the cargo, which they sample. Inattention nearly brings them to grief in a sudden storm. This sobering experience is followed by another - apparently the dead officers had a similar ambition! - and th...
The Frozen Deep is a story of a love triangle between Clara, Frank and Richard, spiced up with dangerous expeditions, mysterious visions and life-threatening circumstances. The end is as surprising and unexpected as we are (or are not) accustomed to in Collins' books. (Summary by Diana Majlinger)
Sailing adventure with storms, icebergs, shipwrecks, treasure, and the reawakening of a pirate frozen in suspended animation for nearly fifty years (Summary by P. Cunningham)
Sailing voyage from England to Portugal in the mid Eighteenth Century, by one of the premier humorists, satirists, novelists and playwrights of his age. It was to be his last work, as his failing health proved unable to persevere much longer after the voyage. ( Summary by JCarson )