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Shipwreck Modernity"Ecologies of Globalization, 1550-1719"$
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Steve Mentz

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691036

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691036.001.0001

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The Wet and the Dry

The Wet and the Dry

Shipwreck Hermeneutics

(p.1) Chapter 1 The Wet and the Dry
Shipwreck Modernity

Steve Mentz

University of Minnesota Press

The first chapter lays out the critical different between “wet” or oceanic modes of representation on the one hand, and “dry” or terrestrial ones on the other. Shipwreck texts present maximally wet encounters, but even these representations cannot remain immersed for long. They seek through religious faith, maritime skills, poetic prowess, or some combination of these things to dry out the wet shock of the disaster. From one of the first shipwrecks recorded in the early modern period, the wreck of the Portuguese galleon S. Joao off Africa in 1553 to the record of Anthony Thacher’s family drowning off Massachusetts in 1635, disaster stories oscillate between wet disorientation and dry order.

Keywords:   Shipwreck, Disaster, S. Joao, Anthony Thatcher, Wet

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