Tag Archives: Fiction

Twain, Mark (Samuel Clemens)

[CLEMENS, SAMUEL LANGHORNE], “MARK TWAIN” (1835- 1910). Though more widely known for his writing on the Mississippi River, Samuel Clemens traveled extensively at sea, experiences that find their way into a number of the writings he published under the name Continue reading & text links

Posted in T | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Twain, Mark (Samuel Clemens)

Ballou, Maturin Murray (“Lieut. Murray,” “Frank Forester”)

[BALLOU, MATURIN MURRAY], “LIEUT. MURRAY,” “FRANK FORESTER” (1820-1895). An influential publisher of American periodicals, Maturin Murray Ballou was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He traveled extensively and entered the literary world by writing descriptive letters of his adventures for publication in Continue reading & text links

Posted in B | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Ballou, Maturin Murray (“Lieut. Murray,” “Frank Forester”)

Mowat, Farley

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

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Mowat, Farley

Poyer, David

POYER, DAVID [ANDREISSEN] (1949- ). David Poyer graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1971 and is a naval reserve captain, experienced sailor, and underwater diver. Poyer adapted his active-duty navy experiences to write best-selling sagas of naval fiction. The Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Poyer, David

Porter, Katherine Anne

PORTER, KATHERINE ANNE (1890-1980). Callie Russell Porter was born in Indian Creek, Texas, into a poor family and died in Silver Spring, Maryland, early assuming her paternal grandmother’s name. Living in Mexico, New York, Paris, Germany, and Washington, D.C., Katherine Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Porter, Katherine Anne

Poe, Edgar Allan

POE, EDGAR ALLAN (1809-1849). Edgar Allan Poe, best known for his tales of Gothic horror, was a writer of poetry, short and long fiction, an unfinished drama, criticism, literary theory, essays, and a “cosmological prose poem.” His more than seventy Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Poe, Edgar Allan

Phelps, Elizabeth

PHELPS ELIZABETH [STUART] (1844-1911). Growing up in Andover, Massachusetts, Elizabeth Phelps was a lifelong resident of New England and had a summer home in Gloucester. She was a staunch feminist who participated in causes that ranged from temperance to conditions Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Phelps, Elizabeth

Paretsky, Sara

PARETSKY, SARA (1947- ). V. I. Warshawski, the protagonist in all of Sara Paretsky’s mysteries to date, is a private investigator in Chicago who pursues criminals. In some of her exploits, Warshawski traces them to the wharves, marinas, and beaches Continue reading & text links

Posted in P | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Paretsky, Sara

Wouk, Herman

by Laurence W. Mazzeno (2000) WOUK, HERMAN (1915-2019). Herman Wouk, author of the best-selling sea novel The Caine Mutiny (1951) and other works about the navy in World War II, was born in New York City, eldest son of Russian Jewish Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Wouk, Herman

Woolson, Constance Fenimore

by Victoria Brehm (2000) WOOLSON, CONSTANCE FENIMORE (1840-1894). One of the first American realists, Constance Fenimore Woolson began her career writing about the Great Lakes, including an early story, “Margaret Morris” (1872), which is the first shipwreck fiction of the Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Woolson, Constance Fenimore

Wilson, Sloan

WILSON, SLOAN (1920-2003). Sloan Wilson was a Coast Guard officer before he became a novelist and a yachtsman before he gained a commission in the Coast Guard. He came to regard his Coast Guard experience as more educative than his Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Wilson, Sloan

Williams, William Carlos

WILLIAMS, WILLIAM CARLOS (1883-1963). Although modern poet, novelist, and essayist William Carlos Williams once said that all of his art came out of the work-yard of his lifelong home in Rutherford, New Jersey, where he practiced medicine, that is not Continue reading & text links

Posted in W | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Williams, William Carlos

Vukelich, George

VUKELICH, GEORGE (1927-1995). “[I]t was good to be on the Great Lakes,” wrote George Vukelich in 1955 to the editor of the Milwaukee Journal, after a spell as an ore boat deckhand. This sentiment pervades much of his work, including Continue reading & text links

Posted in V | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vukelich, George

Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.

VONNEGUT, KURT, JR (1922-2007). Kurt Vonnegut was born in Indianapolis but soon moved east, eventually settling in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in 1951, where he lived for twenty years. His essay “Brief Encounters on the Inland Waterway” (first pub. in Venture Continue reading & text links

Posted in V | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Vonnegut, Kurt, Jr.

Vollmann, William T.

VOLLMANN, WILLIAM T[ANNER]. (1959- ). William T. Vollmann’s very ambitious project is a seven-novel series entitled Seven Dreams: A Book of North American Landscapes, which interweaves history, myth and legend, imagination, illustrations, and personal travel experience to chronicle the “symbolic Continue reading & text links

Posted in V | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vollmann, William T.

Vidal, Gore

VIDAL, GORE [EUGENE LUTHER] (1925-2012). Gore Vidal was born in West Point, New York, attended Philips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, and served in the army during World War II. A novelist, playwright, and essayist, he occasionally employs maritime settings Continue reading & text links

Posted in V | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Vidal, Gore

Urquhart, Jane

URQUHART, JANE (1949- ). Jane Urquhart was born near Lake Nipigon, Ontario, north of Lake Superior, where she spent the first five years of her life. Vivid memories of extended time on the north shore of Lake Superior drew her Continue reading & text links

Posted in U | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Urquhart, Jane

Updike, John

UPDIKE, JOHN [HOYER] (1932-2009). John Updike is the author of over fifteen novels and an impressive body of shorter fiction, poetry, and criticism, much of which has been published in The New Yorker. Born in Pennsylvania, he has lived on Continue reading & text links

Posted in U | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Updike, John

Symmes, John Cleves, “Captain Adam Seaborn”

[SYMMES, JOHN CLEVES], “CAPTAIN ADAM SEABORN” (1780-1829). Some scholars believe that “Captain Adam Seaborn,” the author of this fictional, first-person narrative, is the pseudonym of army officer and amateur geographer Captain John Cleves Symmes (1780-1829). Symmes claimed that the earth Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Symmes, John Cleves, “Captain Adam Seaborn”

Stowe, Harriet Beecher

by Margherita M. Desy (2000) STOWE, HARRIET BEECHER (1811-1896). Harriet Beecher Stowe is internationally famous for her antislavery best-seller Uncle Tom’s Cabin (1852). In the summer of 1852, still living in Brunswick, Maine, where she wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin, Stowe began Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Stowe, Harriet Beecher

Stone, William Leete

STONE, WILLIAM LEETE (1792-1844). William Leete Stone was a journalist and writer whose career as a newspaperman largely overshadowed his work as a historian. Born in New Paltz, New York, Stone had little formal schooling in advance of his employment Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Stone, William Leete

Stone, Robert

STONE, ROBERT [ANTHONY] (1937-2015). A distinguished, award-winning novelist, Robert Stone turned to nautical fiction in his fifth book, Outerbridge Reach (1992). Born in New York to a family of tugboaters, he served from 1955 to 1958 as a radioman and Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on Stone, Robert

Stoddard, Elizabeth

STODDARD, ELIZABETH [DREW BARSTOW] (1823-1902). Iconoclastic novelist, short story writer, essayist, and poet, Elizabeth Stoddard was born in the coastal town of Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, the daughter of its foremost shipbuilder and maritime merchant. Both the fluctuations of her father’s maritime Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Stoddard, Elizabeth

Stevens, Wallace

STEVENS, WALLACE (1879-1955). Wallace Stevens is one of the most influential American poets of the twentieth century, whose central concern is with the relationship of the human imagination and the world of physical reality. Stevens grew up in Pennsylvania and Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Stevens, Wallace

Steinbeck, John

by Susan F. Beegel (2000) STEINBECK, JOHN [ERNST] (1902-1968). John Steinbeck, winner of the 1962 Nobel Prize in literature, was born in Salinas, California. As a child, he divided his time between his family’s home in the rich agricultural land of Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Steinbeck, John

Simms, William Gilmore

SIMMS, WILLIAM GILMORE (1806-1870). William Gilmore Simms was born in Charleston, South Carolina, where he spent most of his life. He was, with the exception of Edgar Allan Poe, the most significant author of the antebellum South. Beginning as a Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Simms, William Gilmore

Siegel, Robert Harold

SIEGEL, ROBERT HAROLD (1939-2012). Growing up in the Midwest, Robert Harold Siegel also spent time on Long Island’s Jones Beach, cruised the Caribbean, and sailed and whale-watched off the coasts of Maine, New Hampshire, and California. His Whalesong trilogy is Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Siegel, Robert Harold

Semmes, Raphael

SEMMES, RAPHAEL (1809-1877). A naval officer first in the United States and then in the Confederate navy, Raphael Semmes wrote two books on his naval adventures. The first, Afloat and Ashore during the Mexican War (1851), is an account of Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Semmes, Raphael

Searls, Hank

SEARLS, HENRY HUNT “HANK,” JR. (1922-2017). Novelist and author of nonfiction and short fiction, Hank Searls was born in San Francisco 10 August 1922. Graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1944 with the wartime-accelerated class of 1945, he remained Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Searls, Hank

Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

SCHOOLCRAFT, HENRY ROWE (1793-1864). Born in upstate New York, Henry Rowe Schoolcraft was trained as a glassmaker. Like many Americans of his age, however, as a young man Schoolcraft went west, where his knowledge of mineralogy led eventually to his Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Schoolcraft, Henry Rowe

Sargent, Epes

SARGENT, EPES (1813-1880). A Boston newspaperman and son of a Gloucester sea captain, Epes Sargent is best remembered as the author of the lyrics of one of the best-known nautical songs of the nineteenth century. In addition to American Adventures Continue reading & text links

Posted in S | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Sargent, Epes

Rowson, Susanna H.

ROWSON, SUSANNA H[ASWELL]. (1762-1824). Born in Portsmouth, England, Susanna H. Rowson became an actress, educator, prolific writer in several genres, and notably the author of Charlotte Temple (1791), America’s first best-selling novel. Rowson’s father, William Haswell, was a lieutenant in Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Rowson, Susanna H.

Robertson, Morgan

ROBERTSON, MORGAN (1861-1915). Son of a Great Lakes captain, Morgan Robertson was born in Oswego, New York, on Lake Ontario. He wrote popular sea fiction with the authoritative voice of an expert seaman. Sailing from 1877 to 1886, he first Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Robertson, Morgan

Roberts, Kenneth

ROBERTS, KENNETH [LEWIS] (1885-1957). Chronicling the lives of Maine coastal families in most of his distinguished historical novels of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, Kenneth Roberts acquired and put to use an impressive and detailed knowledge of nautical matters. Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Roberts, Kenneth

Roark, Garland (“George Garland”)

[ROARK, GARLAND], “GEORGE GARLAND” (1904-1985). Born in Groesbeck, Texas, Garland Roark spent the first two decades of his work life on the advertising staffs of various retail stores in Texas, promoting everything from groceries to jewelry. In 1946 he launched Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Roark, Garland (“George Garland”)

Riesenberg, Felix

RIESENBERG, FELIX (1879-1939). Felix Riesenberg was one of the most important figures in American literature of the sea during the 1920s and 1930s; his literary contributions were preceded by many years of first-hand sea experience during the final transitional years Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Riesenberg, Felix

Richard, Mark

RICHARD, MARK (1955- ). Author of the sea novel Fishboy (1993), Mark Richard (pronounced ree-SHARD) has been, at different times in his life, disc jockey, newspaperman, photographer, and private investigator. As a young man, Richard took time off from his Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Richard, Mark

Reynolds, J. N.

REYNOLDS, J[EREMIAH]. N. (1799?-1858). Details of the life of J. N. Reynolds are sketchy, and his lingering reputation today is mainly the result of his influence upon major works of Edgar Allan Poe (The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym [1838]) Continue reading & text links

Posted in R | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Reynolds, J. N.

Optic, Oliver (William T. Adams)

[ADAMS, WILLIAM TAYLOR], “OLIVER OPTIC” (1822-1897). Using the pen name “Oliver Optic,” William Taylor Adams spent twenty years as a teacher in Boston schools and wrote popular children’s fiction in the nineteenth century. The publication of The Boat Club: or, The Continue reading & text links

Posted in O | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Optic, Oliver (William T. Adams)

Olson, Toby

OLSON, [MERLE THEODORE] TOBY (1937- ). Poet and novelist Toby Olson was born in Berwyn, Illinois, but spent much of his childhood moving around the United States. This constant movement instilled a theme of travel into his work, particularly his Continue reading & text links

Posted in O | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Olson, Toby

Ogilvie, Elisabeth

OGILVIE, ELISABETH [MAY] (1917-2006). Born in Roxbury, Massachusetts, and soon thereafter uprooted to Maine, Elisabeth Ogilvie gained critical and popular attention for her first novel, High Tide at Noon (1944). The novel and its sequels, Storm Tide (1945) and The Continue reading & text links

Posted in O | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Ogilvie, Elisabeth

Norris, Frank

NORRIS, [BENJAMIN] FRANKLIN] (1870-1902). Although his short life was adventurous enough, including trips to Africa’s Transvaal and Cuba during the Spanish-American War, Frank Norris’ disposition to set two of his less successful novels partly at sea probably arose from his Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Norris, Frank

Nordhoff, Charles, the younger AND James Norman Hall

NORDHOFF, CHARLES [BERNARD] the younger (1887-1947) AND JAMES NORMAN HALL (1887-1951). Writers Charles Nordhoff and James Norman Hall were born the same year but worlds apart, Nordhoff in London of American parents and Hall in Colfax, Iowa. They met during Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nordhoff, Charles, the younger AND James Norman Hall

Nordhoff, Charles, the elder

NORDHOFF, CHARLES, the elder (1830-1901). A journalist, Charles Nordhoff was born in Erwitte, a village in Westphalia, Prussia. At five, he emigrated with his parents to Ohio, where they died. Left an orphan in the care of a family in Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nordhoff, Charles, the elder

Nemerov, Howard

NEMEROV, HOWARD [STANLEY] (1920-1991). Howard Nemerov was born in New York City and died in University City, Missouri. He served as a pilot with the Royal Canadian Air Force before joining the U.S. Air Force for the last two years Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Nemerov, Howard

Nelson, James L.

NELSON, JAMES L. (1962- ). Born in Lewiston, Maine, James L. Nelson, a former professional square-rig sailor, traces his love of the sea to his earliest memories when he chose boats and model ships for boyhood toys. In college Nelson Continue reading & text links

Posted in N | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Nelson, James L.

Morrison, Toni

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

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Moore, Ruth

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

Posted in M | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Moore, Ruth

Moore, Christopher

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

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Moore, Christopher

Mitchell, Joseph

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

Posted in M | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment