Saturday, August 1, 2015


Wilbur Bassett - Wander-Ships: Folk-Stories of the Sea (1917)

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If you consider it as just water, water everywhere then there's an astonishing amount of stories about the sea.  But if you look at it as one of humanity's oldest obsessions then maybe it's not so surprising.  This author found a few ship-oriented stories, expanded them and added notes.  For the stories he leans towards a slightly more florid idea of literary ("Wind-sheltered by white cliffs and rock-perched beyond the grasp of channel waves nestles defiantly the quaint fishing village of Dieppe.") and makes them closer to a conventional short story than the often abrupt and frequently stark manner of most folk tales.  It's probably why I find the the notes more interesting as they trace various versions of the stories through history or other art.  Included are "Notes on" giant ships, phantom ships, devil ships, the death voyage and the Flying Dutchman.