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|The Pacific self : oceanic narratives and self-representation in accounts of eighteenth-century British voyages of Pacific exploration
|Gane, Daniel Charles
|This thesis traces the mariner’s oceanic experience in the journals of the voyages of Pacific exploration made between 1764 and 1780 by John Byron, Samuel Wallis, Philip Carteret and James Cook and the published narratives that derived from them. Situated within the emerging field of ‘blue humanities’, the thesis focuses on the account of the ocean and engages with problems of defining and describing the ocean. It examines how the mariners articulated their oceanic experience and how their narrative challenged wider cultural assumptions about the ocean and how it was then absorbed into literary narratives. It argues that the journals of Pacific exploration increasingly emphasized the experience of being at sea and, through the adaptation of that narrative in the texts that followed, were part of a larger shift in the depiction of the ocean. John Hawkesworth’s official adaptation of the first journals published in 1773 involved a process of ‘un-seaing’ by which, to suit literary pre-conceptions, the ocean was marginalised in favour of a renewed focus on landfalls. The adaptations that followed responded to a variety of audiences. Some continued to ‘un-sea’ the texts and focussed on terrestrial encounters. These transferred the “other” of the ocean to the societies found there, part of a developing narrative of colonization. However others, designed to appeal to the more ‘middling-sort’ of reader who might identify with the professionalised accounts the mariners had provided, reengaged with the maritime narrative of the original journals. Here the description of the oceanic experience was revitalised. Thus, the thesis argues, the journals found a place in the literary discourse of the voyage and helped shape a larger understanding of the ocean that challenged its uncertainty and put the mariner’s oceanic experience at its centre.
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|School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics
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|Gane D C 2021.pdf
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