The Sea in Nineteenth-Century English and American Literature Criticism: American Sea Poetry And Short Stories - Essay

Max L. Autrey (essay date 1974)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “The Word Out of the Sea: A View of Crane's ‘The Open Boat,’” in Arizona Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 2, Summer, 1974, pp. 101-10.

[In the following essay, Autrey contends that the death of Billie in “The Open Boat” demonstrates the futility of man's struggle for independence and freedom.]

Although presented as an anticlimax and beautifully understated, the death of the oiler holds the key to Stephen Crane's study of mankind in “The Open Boat.” As the most significant single occurrence in a work composed primarily of inner action, Billie's drowning gives meaning to the final periodic comment:

When it came night,...

(The entire section is 3532 words.)

Robin Riley Fast (essay date 1982)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “Structure and Meaning in Whitman's Sea-Drift,” in American Transcendental Quarterly, Vol. 53, No. 53, Winter, 1982, pp. 49-66.

[In the following essay, Fast examines Whitman's Sea-Drift poems as a whole, focusing on how their organization within the larger Leaves of Grass helps to develop the overall themes of self-exploration and the promise of transcendence.]

Criticism of Whitman's Sea-Drift sequence has been almost entirely limited to analyses of “Out of the Cradle Endlessly Rocking” and “As I Ebb'd with the Ocean of Life.” Although many critics have commented on the contrasts between these two poems, none has...

(The entire section is 7370 words.)

A. James Wohlpart (essay date 1996)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: “From the Material to the Spiritual in the Sea-Drift Cluster: Transcendence in ‘On the Beach at Night,’ ‘The World Below the Brine,’ and ‘On the Beach at Night Alone,’” in Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, Vol. 13, No. 3, Winter, 1996, pp. 149-58.

[In the following essay, Wohlpart studies the middle three poems in the Sea-Drift cluster, arguing that these poems clarify Whitman's definitions of transcendence and immortality.]

Several critics have suggested the central importance of the Sea-Drift cluster to the organic integrity of Leaves of Grass. Thomas Edward Crawley argues in The Structure of “Leaves of...

(The entire section is 4429 words.)