Category Archives: M
MacDONALD, JOHN D[ANN]. (1916-1986). Best known for his creation of tough-guy detective Travis McGee, suspense novelist John D. MacDonald lived for many years in South Florida and set much of his work there. In his novels the sea functions both Continue reading text links
MACHARG, WILLIAM [BRIGGS] (1872-1951). Born in Chicago, William MacHarg was a journalist, editor, and publisher of The American Mercury, as well as a fiction writer. He collaborated with Edwin Balmer (1883-1959) on mystery, romance, and adventure stories, some of which Continue reading text links
MACK, WILLIAM P[ADEN]. (1915-2003). Novelist William P. Mack was born 6 August 1915, in Hillsboro, Illinois. His first professional writing experience was in 1931 as an interim reporter on the San Francisco Daily News, where his brother-in-law was city editor. Continue reading text links
MACKENZIE, ALEXANDER SLIDELL (1803-1848). Career naval officer, author, and naval historian, Alexander Slidell Mackenzie gained notoriety for his part in quelling the “mutiny” aboard the Somers in December 1842. Mackenzie, who legally changed his last name from Slidell, entered the Continue reading text links
MACLEISH, ARCHIBALD (1892-1982). Poet Archibald MacLeish is best known as a winner of three Pulitzer Prizes and as the librarian of Congress from 1939 to 1944. While a student at Yale University, MacLeish began a long friendship with Britain’s sea-poet Continue reading text links
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MARTIN, WILLIAM (1950- ). History and the sea are the subjects of the fiction of William Martin, contemporary novelist and screenwriter. Born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and earning a B.A. from Harvard University (1972) and an M.F.A. from the University of Continue reading text links
MASON, ARTHUR (1876-1955). Born in Ireland, Mason went to sea at age seventeen to embark on a career that would last twenty-four years. He became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1899. For much of his career he Continue reading text links
MASON, F[RANCIS]. VAN WYCK (1901-1978). World War I and II veteran, importer, and ultimately writer, F. Van Wyck Mason was born in Boston on 11 November 1901. He was awarded a B.S. from Harvard University in 1924 after serving briefly Continue reading text links
MATTHIESSEN, PETER (1927-2014). New York-born Peter Matthiessen has borne the double titles of author and naturalist since the beginning of his professional writing career. Son of an architect father who was also a trustee of the National Audubon Society, Matthiessen Continue reading text links
MAURY, MATTHEW FONTAINE (1806-1873). The 1855 publication of Matthew Fontaine Maury’s Physical Geography of the Sea inaugurated the distinct discipline of oceanography, but earlier essays under the pseudonym “Harry Bluff” helped shape reform of the antebellum U.S. Navy. Born in Continue reading text links
MAYO, WILLIAM S[TARBUCK] (1811-1895). Born in Ogdensburg, New York, William S. Mayo was a successful physician and author of popular adventure fiction. His mother’s family had been in the whaling industry for generations, and his father served in the merchant Continue reading text links
McCORMICK, JAY W. (1919- ). Jay W. McCormick was born and grew up in the small Lake Huron port town of Harbor Beach, Michigan. His father was a Great Lakes ship captain, and the younger McCormick spent considerable time sailing Continue reading text links
McKENNA, RICHARD [MILTON] (1913-1964). Richard McKenna was a career naval enlisted man whose 1962 novel The Sand Pebbles is a classic of naval fiction. McKenna’s childhood in Mountain Home, Idaho, was enriched by his great habit of reading, but when Continue reading text links
McNALLY, TERRENCE (1938-2020). Terrence McNally’s seriocomic dramas have won him acclaim as one of the most prolific playwrights of the 1990s, one particularly interested in the representation of gay men. Along with other dramatists who portray the healing and redemptive Continue reading text links
McPHEE, JOHN [ANGUS] (1931- ). John McPhee, master craftsman of nonfiction prose in more than twenty books and New Yorker articles beyond count, turned his attention to the sea in Looking for a Ship (1990). The subject is actually multiple: Continue reading text links
MELVILLE, HERMAN (1819-1891). More than any other American author, Herman Melville used the sea as setting and concept to create great literature. With broad-ranging and deep philosophical interests, his books are far more than adventure stories. In his works, Melville Continue reading text links
MEREDITH, WILLIAM [MORRIS] (1919-2007). With nine volumes of poetry to his credit, including the Pulitzer Prize-winning Partial Accounts: New and Selected Poems (1987) and the National Book Award-winning Effort at Speech: New and Selected Poems (1997), William Meredith is also Continue reading text links
MERWIN, SAMUEL (1874-1936). Born in Evanston, Illinois, Samuel Merwin attended Northwestern University but did not graduate. His literary career began with the publication of two popularly acclaimed novels, The Short Line War (1899) and Calumet “K” (1901), written in collaboration Continue reading text links
MERWIN, W[ILLIAM]. S[TANLEY]. (1927-2019). Born in New York City and educated at Princeton University, W. S. Merwin has lived and worked in France, Portugal, Majorca, New York, and, in later years, Hawai’i. The author of four books of prose and Continue reading text links
METCALF, PAUL [CUTHBERT] (1917-1999). Since his three-volume Collected Works was published (1996-1998), Paul Metcalf’s writings are widely available. He is probably best understood as a member of the Black Mountain group; although he never attended that experimental North Carolina college, Continue reading text links
MICHENER, JAMES A[LBERT]. (1907-1997). Prolific novelist James A. Michener was rescued as a foundling by a widow living in Doylestown, Pennsylvania. Years later, having taught high school and college, Michener found his nascent career as a textbook editor interrupted by Continue reading text links
MITCHELL, JOSEPH (1908-1996). Joseph Mitchell grew up in Fairmont, North Carolina, a farming town in the state’s coastal plains. In 1929 Mitchell moved to New York City and began his career working as a crime reporter and feature writer for Continue reading text links
MOORE, CHRISTOPHER K. (1957- ). Christopher Moore has lived on the California coast for over twenty years, using his experiences on diving and fishing boats around the world in two offbeat novels. Island of the Sequined Love Nun (1997) focuses Continue reading text links
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MOORE, MARIANNE [CRAIG] (1887-1972). A member of the generation of poets that included T. S. Eliot, Ezra Pound, and William Carlos Williams, Marianne Moore was highly regarded by her contemporaries for poetry that was metrically unique and that characteristically subjected Continue reading text links
MOORE, RUTH (1903-1989). Ruth Moore was born on Gott’s Island, Maine, where she lived for thirteen years before moving to the mainland to continue her education. She graduated from New York State College for Teachers in 1925 but did not Continue reading text links
MORRELL, ABBY JANE [WOOD] (1809-l???). The cousin and second wife of Captain Benjamin Morrell, Abby Jane Wood married the captain when she was fifteen. She accompanied him on the last of his four voyages of commerce and exploration, in the Continue reading text links
MORRELL, BENJAMIN (1795-1839). Benjamin Morrell, sealing captain and explorer, was born in Rye, New York, the son of a shipbuilder. His early experiences included being twice captured by the British during the War of 1812 and spending over two and Continue reading text links
MORRISON, TONI (1931-2019). Toni Morrison was born Chloe Ardelia Wofford in Lorrain, Ohio. She was given the baptismal name of Chloe Anthony, and chose “Toni” as her nickname when a college student. She earned her BA in English at historically Continue reading text links
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MOWAT, FARLEY [MCGILL] (1921-2014). Farley Mowat is one of Canada’s more popular and controversial writers. Born 12 May 1921, in Belleview, Ontario, Mowat graduated from the University of Toronto in 1949. He spent two years during World War II as Continue reading text links
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MURPHY, ROBERT CUSHMAN (1887-1973). Born in Brooklyn, Robert Cushman Murphy graduated from Brown University in 1911. The following year he married Grace E. Barstow and embarked on the whaler Daisy for the South Atlantic. A naturalist nominally in search of Continue reading text links