The Nautilus (Volume VII 2016)
The seventh annual edition of The The Nautilus (Spring 2016) contains essays on Moby-Dick from an eco-critical perspective; a history of the development of coastal communities in Portugal; and the wartime experiences of Mexican General Santa Anna that became the subject of popular song in various forms, including the chanty. Danielle Johannesen’s essay “What to Make of It? Detritus, Wreckage, and Imaginative Re-purposing in Moby-Dick” examines the Pequod and the whaling industry through an eco-critical lens, looking at Melville’s treatment of the materials and resources of that industry through Ishmael’s engagement with detritus, especially “wreckage and material items lost or deliberately tossed into the sea.” In “Landscapes of Fear: The Portuguese Coast,” Joana Gaspar de Freitas traces, through texts ranging from popular tales and verses to oral histories and contemporary accounts of wrecks and pirate attacks, the change over the course of centuries in the attitude of the Portuguese people toward the sea as a site of chaos and fear to an environment conducive to coastal settlement. Marti L. Klein’s “The Leg I Left Behind Me . . . On the Plains of Mexico” examines how General Santa Anna’s experience of losing a prosthetic limb—to members of the 4th Regiment of Illinois Volunteers—during the Battle of Cerro Gordo found its way into popular songs sung by both soldiers and sailors. Book reviews address Melville in several contexts: both others’ personal recollections of him and his own grappling with the divine; British piracy in print and theatrical performance; early American maritime culture; the protections and limitations of citizenship at sea in the days of the Early Republic; the Titanic disaster in the words of survivors; medieval maritime warfare; and Capt. John Smith’s mapping of the New England coast.