Imagined Homelands: British Poetry in the Colonies.

Two emphases in this work deal with the maritime reading experience.

Chapter 1, “Floating Worlds,” deals with shipboard printing (p. 19-42). Secondly, and throughout there are mentions of immigrants sailing to new lands, whether the US, Canada, or the Antipodes.

p. 23-25: Given the strain of the outbound journey, even for those fortunate enough to be in upper-class accommodations, passengers were no doubt grateful for the distraction offered by ship newspapers. Opening a ship journal from the 1850s or ‘60s, one might encounter a poem celebrating Florence Nightingale, a humorous lyric on seasickness, a gossip work called “Sketches by Booze,” or a “Lament of the Single Ladies,” voicing the frustrations of women on board. Predictably, one also finds passages from Samuel Taylor Colege’s “Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner” and various other poems on sea travel, homesickness, and exploration. One journal, the Pioneer, offers a log of the ship’s journey in tetrameter couplets…. Poetry, then, was vital to Victorian periodical culture in ways that modern reading practices have tended to obscure.

[Rudy goes on to ascribe to shipboard poetry a nostalgia, the longing to return home, which we often see in explorer reading.]