Lost At Sea, Ashgate, and the Maritime Humanities

Posted by Whitney Feininger, Assistant Editor for Literary Studies

Ashgate author Steve Mentz (Romance for Sale in Early Modern England) is a guest curator, with Carol Brobeck, of Lost at Sea: The Ocean in the English Imagination, 1550–1750,  on display from June 10-September 4, at the Folger Shakespeare Library.

This exhibit “explores the literal and figurative tools – from maps, astrolabes, and compasses to books, symbols, and stories – that early modern mariners used to plot locations and understand their place in the world” and is a hands-on example of maritime humanities.

Maritime humanities – also referred to as the new thalassology or, to borrow Professor Mentz’s preferred phrase, blue cultural humanities,  is a small but growing area of study that looks at the relationship between humans and the sea in literature, historical documents, and works of art.

Titles from Ashgate’s literary studies list that explore the sea in both literature and historical documents include The Atlantic Enlightenment, edited by Susan Manning and Francis D. Cogliano, and the forthcoming The Culture of Piracy, 1580–1630, by Claire Jowitt.  Our literary studies series Transculturalisms, 1400–1700 and Nineteenth-Century Transatlantic Studies are both open to maritime studies.

Some more great resources for the maritime humanities can be found at The Sea! The Sea! on Steve Mentz’s personal website.


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