Object Lessons is a series of short, beautifully designed books about the hidden lives of ordinary things.
The ocean comprises the largest object on our planet. Retelling human history from an oceanic rather than terrestrial point of view unsettles our relationship with the natural environment. Our engagement with the world's oceans can be destructive, as with today's deluge of plastic trash and acidification, but the mismatch between small bodies and vast seas also emphasizes the frailty and resilience of human experience.
From ancient stories of shipwrecked sailors to the containerized future of 21st-century commerce, Ocean splashes the histories we thought we knew into salty and unfamiliar places.
Object Lessons is published in partnership with an essay series in The Atlantic.
Country of Publication:
Series: Object Lessons
19 March 2020
Deterratorializing Preface 1. Two Origins: Alien or Core? 2. Seafood before History 3. Myth I: Odysseus, not Achilles 4. Wet Globalization I: The Premodern Anthropocene 5. Sea Poetry I: Adamastor as Warning and Gate 6. Sailors: A Technological History 7. Interlude: Port of New York 8. Sea Poetry II: The Sea in Emily Dickinson 9. Myth II: Queequeg and Other Mermaids 10. Wet Globalization II: Containers 11. Blue Environmentalism: Rachel Carson 12. Swimmers: Immersive Histories Acknowledgments Reading the Blue Humanities: A Bibliographical Essay Index
Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St John's University, USA. He is the author of four books, including Shipwreck Modernity: Ecologies of Globalization, 1550 - 1719 (2015), and the editor of four books. He blogs at The Bookfish (www.stevementz.com).
Reviews for Ocean
Oceans are big things, so Steve Mentz has made a concise book of them. From sailors as cyborgs to Queequeg as a mermaid, from Conrad's mirrored sea to Emily Dickinson's marine visions, Mentz swims like Coleridge's library cormorant, collecting glittering things. The result is a wild and wonderful work; part essay, part reverie, wholly full of watery brilliance. * Philip Hoare, author of RISINGTIDEFALLINGSTAR (2018) * Ocean: a tiny word, but an expansive ecology made fathomable by Mentz's exploration of the human attraction to and fear of the world's oceans as illuminated through poetry, history, and literature. A wondrous read. * Lynne Cox, author of Swimming to Antartica: Tales of a Long-distance Swimmer (2004), Grayson (2006), and Swimming in the Sink: A Memoir (2016) * Mentz takes us on an invigorating 'adventure in thinking,' across vast temporalities and aquatic expanses, rich with strange confluences, and haunted by the terrors of 'wet globalization.' Against the impossibility of understanding the ocean, he casts an inventive blue humanities that lures us with its histories, poetry, theories, queer couplings, exultations, and immersive practices. * Stacy Alaimo, author of Exposed: Environmental Politics and Pleasures in Posthuman Times (2016) *