Author(s): Sam Jefferson
How did a big-game fishing trip rudely interrupted by sharks inspire one of the key scenes in Hemingway's The Old Man and the Sea? How did Robert Louis Stevenson's cruise to the cannibal-infested South Sea islands prove instrumental in his writing of The Beach of Falesa and The Ebb Tide? How did Masefield survive Cape Horn and a near-nervous breakdown to write Sea Fever? The waters of this world have swirled through storytelling ever since the Celts spun the tale of Beowulf and Homer narrated The Odyssey. This enthralling book takes us on a tour of the most dangerous, exciting and often eccentric escapades of literature's sailing stars, and how these true stories inspired and informed their best-loved works. Arthur Ransome, Erskine Childers, Jack London and many others are featured as we find out how extraordinary fact fed into unforgettable fiction.
Behind every great sea story there is a real-life adventure that inspired it, and this book shines a new light on some of our best-loved maritime authors - from Robert Louis Stevenson to Jack London, Hemingway, Masefield and Conrad - reflecting the dangerous, exciting and often eccentric escapades that fuelled their writing.
Sam Jefferson is a journalist and maritime historian, and is one of the leading authorities on the clipper ship era. He is a former Deputy Editor of Sailing Today, and writes regularly for Classic Boat, Sailing Today and Traditional Boats and Tall Ships. He is the author of Clipper Ships and the Golden Age of Sail, published by Adlard Coles Nautical.
Introduction Erskine Childers: Hidden depths Joseph Conrad: Clipper ship captain turned literary titan James Fenimore Cooper: The first of the nautical novelists Ernest Hemingway: A strange fish Jack London: The call of the sea Captain Marryat: A forgotten hero of the Royal Navy John Masefield: The seasick sailor Herman Melville: Literary leviathan Arthur Ransome: In search of utopia Tobias Smollett: Grudging grandfather of the nautical novel Robert Louis Stevenson: Home is the sailor - the final voyage