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Two Years Before The Mast af Richard Henry…
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Two Years Before The Mast (original 1840; udgave 2008)

af Richard Henry Dana

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
2,893493,646 (3.9)153
Tracing an awe-inspiring oceanic route from Boston, around Cape Horn, to the California coast, Two Years Before the Mast is both a riveting story of adventure and the most eloquent, insightful account we have of life at sea in the early nineteenth century. Richard Henry Dana is only nineteen when he abandons the patrician world of Boston and Harvard for an arduous voyage among real sailors, amid genuine danger. The result is an astonishing read, replete with vivid descriptions of storms, whales, and the ship's mad captain, terrible hardship and magical beauty, and fascinating historical detail, including an intriguing portrait of California before the gold rush. As D. H. Lawrence proclaimed, "Dana's small book is a very great book."… (mere)
Medlem:hellbent
Titel:Two Years Before The Mast
Forfattere:Richard Henry Dana
Info:CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (2008), Paperback, 190 pages
Samlinger:Dit bibliotek
Vurdering:****
Nøgleord:Ingen

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Havets sønner af Jr. Richard Henry Dana (1840)

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» Se også 153 omtaler

Engelsk (47)  Hollandsk (1)  Alle sprog (48)
Viser 1-5 af 48 (næste | vis alle)
Fiction
  hpryor | Aug 8, 2021 |
This book, a perennial best-seller in the 19th century, reads a bit old-fashioned today, but to a reader like me, that was part of its charm. What’s it about? A Harvard student interrupts his studies to see if he can save his troubled eyesight. So far understandable, but probably not the basis for an interesting book. The idea arises of a long sea voyage to restore his health. Warmer, but not quite there. Then this youth decides to ship out, not as a passenger, but as a seaman, although he has no experience. Now that could be interesting, if the result is also well-written. As this book is.
Dana boards a merchant ship setting out from his home, Boston, to the coast of California, via Cape Horn. The aim: to bring back a hold so tightly stuffed with hides (and a few horns) that the ship is barely above the waterline for the return voyage. Rounding the Cape is hazardous, going and returning, but even the coast of California is not danger-free: a violent wind from a clear sky sends the boat half-way to the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in the two weeks that it rages.
The California Dana reaches is sparsely populated, tenuously held by Mexico. Monterrey is the capital and finest bay on the coast; the chapter describing his impressions of it was one of my favorites. San Francisco has one brand-new adobe house, replacing a canvas tent within the previous year, in between the inevitable mission and presidio. Even then, the largest settlement in “Upper” California was Pueblo de los Angeles, with its 40,000 residents.
The tale is replete with incisive portraits of people he encountered — shipmates and their yarns, Kanakas (Sandwich Islanders who had settled on the coast, and whom he particularly admired), and Spanish aristocrats. One of the most famous passages is his description of the unjust flogging of one of the seamen. It is only one evidence of the sympathy and sense of humanity with which he encountered all.
Dana's tale is liberally sprinkled with nautical terminology, much of it unfamiliar to me. I wouldn’t be able to point to a mizzen, royal, or jib sail, and have no idea what it means to reef or to clew one. But I decided not to interrupt my reading to look up these terms. Even without understanding them, the author invoked in me the romance of a well-rigged ship scudding along under full sail.
No, this isn’t The Perfect Storm — although it includes masterful accounts of battling storms at sea. What it is: a remarkable memoir of a young man who leaves safety and shelter to embark on an unexpected course. It is finely-observed and honestly recounted. Will I ever see for myself the Southern Cross and the Clouds of Magellan? Perhaps not, but Dana’s description fired my imagination. What more can one ask of a memoir? ( )
  HenrySt123 | Jul 19, 2021 |
I'll try to be brief.

"Two Years Before the Mast" draws the clearest portraits of early nineteenth-century merchant marine written. It is also THE indispensable document of early California, the hide trade and the trading posts that dotted the coast, and really of international maritime trade in the 1830s. Dana also writes a Dickens-like account of American class structure with the sea trade as a microcosm that stands for all. This book is a time machine in the best sense of the word, a window into a world now nearly 200 years past, as viscerally evocative and tangible as could be. You can feel the salt crusting on your skin as you read. _Highly recommended_ to anyone interested in the real, not fictional, past, in all things maritime, someone looking for immersive escape, or the work of a significant 19th-century legal reformer (Dana was.).

Dana's book has some issues that cannot be overlooked, however. A well-born Bostonian of the early 1800s, he attended a school overseen by Emerson and his influences were the same New England transcendentalist tenets evoked by his contemporary Thoreau. His prose does not rise above theirs, and that is not a compliment; though there are passages that rise to poetic, his writing is mostly wooden, repetitive, and self-indulgent. Be advised that this is a journal-based memoir and does not deviate from that object. His attitudes are also rather uncomfortable to 21st century sensibilities as, while he waxes rhapsodic about human rights and the nobility of the poor, he voices clearly racist attitudes towards non-WASPs (especially Mexicans...wowzers), wants to convert everyone to Christianity to save them, feels the illiterate poor cannot help but be so, and cannot see past "savages" with "savage languages" when it comes to Native Americans. Yes, he was a product of his time and must be seen so.

A final point, one that other reviewers do not seem to have seen as I did. To wit, Dana was 19-21 years old during the voyage and published his account when 25. Also, he was a Boston Brahmin scion who shipped as a Jack Tar and published when back among his kind. A reader can see how these facts play out in his text: there are many long passages so chock-a-block with nautical jargon as to be incomprehensible to most of his readers even in 1840, let alone today. Further, he goes to great lengths until the last part of the voyage to describe the great health and vigor he and his fellow sailors enjoy on a diet of salt beef and ship's biscuit ... until scurvy hits, that is. Maybe it's because I was like him once, maybe because I have now-grown sons, but this rings of youthful swagger, braggadocio, and smugness. "Look how cool I am! I know sailing things and am a bad-ass!" Yeesh; it gets old, and begins to wear by the halfway point. Best grin and bear it.

I tried to be brief and, like Dana, missed that mark. But he scored dead-center hits with other shots in this book. Give it a read, but you'll have to bring your own salt. ( )
1 stem MLShaw | Jul 5, 2021 |
Before California was LA and Hollywood and sunshine everywhere it was just hard work and missionaries... and to see the land as they saw it is an absolute treat. This won't win any literary writing awards but, wow, just to "see" the land as they did is a gift. The drudgery, the poverty, the ... mud... wild. ( )
  marshapetry | Mar 1, 2021 |
This edition was illustrated by Harriette Merrifield Forbes in water colors painted during her trip to California in the 1870's. One of the illustrations is "Indian Hurli (?) arond the Santa Barbara Mission"
1 stem Matthew_Erskine | May 18, 2020 |
Viser 1-5 af 48 (næste | vis alle)
Almost two centuries later, we are all made richer by Dana's classic memoir, "Two Years Before the Mast," which is among the finest books ever written about the immensely popular subject of adventure at sea, and is as relevant and readable today as it was then.
 

» Tilføj andre forfattere (156 mulige)

Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Dana, Richard Henry, Jr.primær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Blaine, MahlonOmslagsfotograf/tegner/...medforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Davis, WesEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Dobkin, AlexanderIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Fleming, Thomas J.Efterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Grenfell, Sir WilfredIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Grenfell, WilfredIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Kemble, John HaskellRedaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Killavey, JimFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Kinder, GaryIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Mayes, BernardFortællermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
McFee, WilliamIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Morris, WrightEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Orr, Monro S.Illustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Pears, CharlesIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Philbrick, ThomasRedaktørmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Seelye, JohnIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Smith, E. BoydIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Spencer, AnnIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Spencer, AnneIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Weinstein, Robert A.Illustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Crowded in the rank and narrow ship, --
Housed on the wild sea with wild usages, --
Whate'er in the inland dales the land conceals
Of fair and exquisite, O! nothing, nothing,
Do we behold of that in our rude voyage.
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I am unwilling to present this narrative to the public without a few words in explanation of my reasons for publishing it.
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Yet a sailor's life is at best but a mixture of a little good with much evil, and a little pleasure with much pain. The beautiful is linked with the revolting, the sublime with the commonplace, and the solemn with the ludicrous.
Death is at all times solemn, but never so much so at sea. A man dies on shore, his body remains with his friends, and the mourners go about the streets; but when a man falls overboard at sea and is lost, these is a suddeness in the event, and a difficulty in realizing it, which give to it an air of awful mystery. ...you miss a man so much. A dozen men are shut up together in a little bark upon the wide, wide sea, and for months and months see no forms and hear no voices but their own, and one is taken suddenly from among them, and they miss him at every turn. It is like losing a limb.
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This work is Dana's Two Years Before the Mast (unabridged).  Please do not combine with anthologies or abridged editions.
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Wikipedia på engelsk (5)

Tracing an awe-inspiring oceanic route from Boston, around Cape Horn, to the California coast, Two Years Before the Mast is both a riveting story of adventure and the most eloquent, insightful account we have of life at sea in the early nineteenth century. Richard Henry Dana is only nineteen when he abandons the patrician world of Boston and Harvard for an arduous voyage among real sailors, amid genuine danger. The result is an astonishing read, replete with vivid descriptions of storms, whales, and the ship's mad captain, terrible hardship and magical beauty, and fascinating historical detail, including an intriguing portrait of California before the gold rush. As D. H. Lawrence proclaimed, "Dana's small book is a very great book."

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