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The Suffering Traveller and the Romantic Imagination$
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Carl Thompson

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780199259984

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259984.001.0001

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Misadventurers I: Existential Themes

Misadventurers I: Existential Themes

Chapter:
(p.59) 2 Misadventurers I: Existential Themes
Source:
The Suffering Traveller and the Romantic Imagination
Author(s):

Carl Thompson (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199259984.003.0003

This chapter explores some of the ways in which a hugely popular literature of shipwreck and maritime disaster played an important ‘scripting’ influence on Romantic travel. It explores firstly the religious traditions and conventions strongly associated with this material (and accordingly, with the figure of the suffering mariner or maritime misadventurer), emphasizing in this regard the routine Providentialism of many of these accounts, and their connection with traditions of spiritual autobiography. The chapter goes on to suggest, however, that these associations between maritime suffering and spiritual revelation become complicated by the rise of more rationalistic and empiricist modes of travel writing in the 18th century. It is in part this tension that makes the figure of maritime misadventurer so fascinating to the Romantic imagination, a fascination that is explored in relation to Coleridge's Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Byron's emulation of the Mariner in his own travelling.

Keywords:   travel, travel writing, adventure, providentialism, Byron, Coleridge, shipwreck, spiritual autobiography, Ancient Mariner

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