Thomas Philbrick (essay date 1961)
SOURCE: “Dread Neptune's Wild Unsocial Sea: The Sea in American Literature Before 1820,” in James Fenimore Cooper and the Development of American Sea Fiction, Harvard University Press, 1961, pp. 1-41.
[In the following essay from his landmark study, Philbrick offers a detailed overview of the development of American sea fiction, providing a comprehensive survey of early works in the genre by both British and American writers.]
During the first half of the nineteenth century the sea occupied much the same place in the imaginations of many Americans that the continental frontier was to fill after 1850. The sea exerted the same appeal to the individual: it offered...
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