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Symbiosis 2019, University of Dundee. Paper titled 'Sea Stories and Freshwater Tales: Washington Irving, Walter Scott and the Transatlantic Romantic Imagination.'

Oliver, Susan (2019) Symbiosis 2019, University of Dundee. Paper titled 'Sea Stories and Freshwater Tales: Washington Irving, Walter Scott and the Transatlantic Romantic Imagination.'. In: Symbiosis 12th Biennial Conference, 2019-07-11 - 2019-07-14, University of Dundee. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

This paper is about the role of the ocean and other bodies of water, as distinct from land, in transatlantic storytelling in the early 19th century. Its focus is two of the most successful storytellers of the Romantic period, one from New York State and the other from Scotland. In 1815 Washington Irving made a journey that Walter Scott never undertook, physically and intellectually crossing the Atlantic at a time when his creativity as a writer was virtually stalled. He experienced almost six weeks at sea, with most of that time spent in international waters that lie beyond national boundaries. Scott’s prolific storytelling constantly refers to the islands, coasts, rivers and lochs of his home nation. But while he took a journey of 6 weeks at sea, touring the lighthouses around Scotland with the Commissioners of Northern Light Houses, he did not venture out into the open, deep waters of the Atlantic Ocean. His 1822 novel The Pirate includes an episode involving deep sea “Har Fishing” that imagines what travel in more distant waters might be like, along with stories of mermaids and sightings of the Kraken. Water plays a significant part, directly and indirectly, in the writing of Irving and Scott as authors whose works were read by almost anyone who was literate in early to middle of the 19th century North America and Britain (as well as, in the case of Scott, around the world). Both men built their homes beside nationally important rivers: the Hudson and the Tweed. To what extent does a conventional aesthetic discourse explain the importance of water as a fluid theme in, and as a medium of inspiration to, Irving’s and Scott writing? Did water inform these authors' creativity in any ways that other environmental stimuli did not and does it matter if those bodies of water were within or beyond politically imposed national boundaries. If so, how and why? These are research questions that this paper addresses.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: Published proceedings: _not provided_ - Notes: Please contact author for copy of paper or more information.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Transatlantic Studies, Romanticism, Atlantic ocean, lochs, mythology, folklore, story, Washington Irving, Walter Scott
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Jul 2019 10:39
Last Modified: 02 Sep 2019 22:15
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25044

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