Review : ‘ Shipboard Literary Cultures: Reading, writing, and performing at sea’ by S. Liebich and L. Publicover (eds)

By Faye Hammill, published June 2023


Shipboard Literary Cultures has a colourful cast of characters. The refractory captain of a Parliamentarian ship in the English Civil War features alongside a small girl aboard an American whaling vessel in the 1860s, a group of emigrant nuns voyaging on the SS Great Britain, and a cohort of American university students embarking on a world tour in 1926. All are engaged in performing maritime selves and developing shipboard identities through some form of literary activity. The term ‘literary’ is used in its broadest sense, encompassing theatricals, devotional practice and the production of on-board newspapers, as well as diary-writing, correspondence, and the reading, discussion and exchange of various kinds of books. While the collection is wide-ranging, it is also tightly focused. In their introduction (which is available on open access), Susann Liebich and Laurence Publicover explain that the aim of the book is to explore ‘how literary practices are shaped by the experience of being at sea…

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Subjects include: Art & Music

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