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Shipwrecked : disaster and transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe and the modern world / by James V. Morrison.

  • Author

    Morrison, James V. 1956-,

  • Date published


  • Publisher

    Ann Arbor : The University of Michigan Press, 2014.

  • Subject

    Shakespeare, William 1564-1616. Tempest.

    Shipwrecks in literature

  • Accession number


  • Class

    Reading Room - 50.31 commentary/MOR

  • Language


  • Physical description

    viii, 242 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.

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Shipwrecked: Disaster and Transformation in Homer, Shakespeare, Defoe and the Modern World presents the first comparative study of notable literary shipwrecks from the past 4,000 years, focusing on Homer's Odyssey, Shakespeare's The Tempest, and Defoe's Robinson Crusoe. The recurrent treatment of shipwrecks in epic poetry, drama, novels, science fiction, movies, and television demonstrates an enduring fascination with this archetypal scene: a shipwreck survivor confronting the elements. It is remarkable, for example, that the characters in the 2004 television show Lost share so many features with those from Homer's Odyssey and Shakespeare's The Tempest. When survivors are stuck on an island for some period of time, shipwrecks often present the survivor with the possibility of a change in political and social status, as well as romance and even paradise. In each of the major shipwreck narratives examined, the poet or novelist links the castaways' arrival on a new shore with the possibility of a new sort of life. James V. Morrison also considers the historical context as well as the "triggers" (such as the 1609 Bermuda shipwreck) that inspired some of these works, and modern responses such as novels (Golding's Lord of the Flies, Coetzee's Foe, and Gordon's First on Mars, a science fiction version of the Crusoe story), movies, television (Forbidden Planet, Cast Away, and Lost), and the poetry and plays of Caribbean poets Derek Walcott and Aime Cesaire.