Redburn, Chapter 27  Melville’s largely autobiographical novel of his youthful voyage from New York to Liverpool. In this extract he arrives on the Mersey, his imagination fired to expect a city of magical wonder. Reality hit him hard! The middle third of the book is a fascinating insight into Liverpool 1840s.

Descent Into the Maelstrom, Edgar Alan Poe. Spooky or what?

The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch. This extract is about falling from a cliff, another take on descent into a maelstrom

Dover Beach by Matthew Arnold. While clearly a religious poem, it can also be read as an expression of a crisis in liberal values in the nineteenth century. Its content may not be to your taste but it has its music.

To the Sea by Philip Larkin. A stark contrast to Arnold from grumpy, atheistic Larkin.

A Bay in Anglesey by John Betjeman with his typical melancholy edge.

I started early – took my dog  by Emily Dickinson. Who’d have thought that spinsterish, mystical loner Emily was so sexy? The Sea as masculine power.

Young Sea by Carl Sandburg. So many ways to see and hear the sea.


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