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The Mirror of the Sea by Joseph Conrad

First published in 1906, The Mirror of the Sea is a collection of autobiographical essays by Polish-British writer Joseph Conrad (1857–1924) based on his life as a merchant sailor for almost 20 years. Commenting on the book, Conrad wrote: Within these pages I make a full confession not of my sins but of my emotions. It is the best tribute my piety can offer to the ultimate shapers of my character, convictions, and, in a sense, destiny--to the imperishable sea, to the ships that are no more and to the simple men who have had their day. (13.3 MiB, PDF, 336 pages)


 1 file(s)  9 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Seafaring and ManningDownload

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (PDF edition)

A Journal of the Plague Year by English novelist Daniel Defoe (1660–1731) is about the Great Plague of London in 1664–65. The story is narrated by one "H.F.", a purported eyewitness. Although fictionalised, Defoe's historical reconstruction of this grim chapter in London's history is convincing. Indeed, parts of it have an uncanny resemblance to events occurring during the coronavirus pandemic that started in 2019. (761.4 KiB, PDF, 181 pages ).


 1 file(s)  6 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe (EPUB edition)

A Journal of the Plague Year by English novelist Daniel Defoe (1660–1731) is about the Great Plague of London in 1664–65. The story is narrated by one "H.F.", a purported eyewitness. Although fictionalised, Defoe's historical reconstruction of this grim chapter in London's history is convincing. Indeed, parts of it have an uncanny resemblance to events occurring during the coronavirus pandemic that started in 2019. NOTE: You need an appropriate e-book reader to view the file on your smartphne or tablet. (413.2 KiB, EPUB).


 1 file(s)  10 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea by James Fenimore Cooper

First published in 1824, The Pilot: A Tale of the Sea is a novel by James Fenimore Cooper, the first major American novelist and a sailor by profession. Says the Encyclopedia Britannica: The work, which was admired by Herman Melville and Joseph Conrad for its authentic portrayal of a seafaring life and takes place during the American Revolution, launched a whole genre of maritime fiction. It features a mysterious and almost superhuman American sea pilot (based on the American hero John Paul Jones) who fights battles off the coast of England against the British and American loyalists. (10.3 MiB, PDF, 454 pages)


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Howard Pyle’s Book of Pirates (PDF)

Howard Pyle's Book of Pirates is a collection of eight classic pirate stories written by the American illusrator, painter and author, Howard Pyle (1853–1911). It has been enriched by Pyle's wonderful illustrations, making it a great read for art lovers as well as pirate fans and students of history. Merle Johnson, who compiled the stories, wrote in his Foreword: Pirates, Buccaneers, Marooners, those cruel but picturesque sea wolves who once infested the Spanish Main, all live in present-day conceptions in great degree as drawn by the pen and pencil of Howard Pyle…It is improbable that anyone else will ever bring his combination of interest and talent to the depiction of these old-time Pirates, any more than there could be a second Remington to paint the now extinct Indians and gun-fighters of the Great West. (16.7 MiB, PDF, 341 pages)


 1 file(s)  23 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and CultureDownload

Two Years Before the Mast (an American classic for smartphones and tablets)

Two Years Before the Mast is a memoir by American lawyer Richard Henry Dana Jr. of his two-year voyage from Boston to California as a common sailor on board a merchant ship. The term "before the mast" refers to the sailors' quarters located in the forecastle (the ship's bow). This book was first published in 1840 when Dana was still a law student at Harvard Universiy. In his Introduction, Prof. Homer Eaton Keyes explains why it is an American classic: We read it to-day not merely for its simple, unpretentious style; but for its clear picture of sea life previous to the era of steam navigation, and for its graphic description of conditions in California before visions of gold sent the long lines of "prairie schooners" drifting across the plains to unfold the hidden destiny of the West. (381.3 KiB, EPUB format)


 1 file(s)  4 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Maritime History and Culture, Seafaring and ManningDownload

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway (for smartphones and tablets)

Ernest Hemingway's last major work of fiction, The Old Man and the Sea centres on an ageing fishermen who fights an epic battle with a giant marlin. It won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1953 and continues to be loved by millions of readers. (103.3 KiB, EPUB format)


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Toilers of the Sea (Les Travailleurs de la Mer) by Victor Hugo

Published in 1866, Toilers of the Sea (Les Travailleurs de la Mer) is not as popular as Victor Hugo's Notre-Dame de Paris (1831) and Les Misérables (1862). It is nonetheless a compelling sea adventure and love story, written by the most important of the French Romantic writers. The story revolves around Gilliat, a fisherman and outcast, who sets out to salvage the steam engine from a wrecked ship in order to win the hand of the owner's daughter. ( 22.6 MiB, PDF, 515 pages including cover)


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Classics Illustrated — Toilers of the Sea by Victor Hugo

Toilers of the Sea (Les Travailleurs de la Mer) is a novel by Victor Hugo, the great French writer better known for his Les Miserables. Published in 1866, it tells the story of a social outcast from the island of Guernsey (where Hugo lived in exile) who sets out to salvage the steam engine from a wrecked ship in order to win the hand of the owner's daughter. This comic book version is a good example of how a literary masterpiece can be popularised through a medium that continues to be loved by millions. (2.3 MiB, PDF, 52 pages including cover)


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The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility (a novella, for smartphones)

The Wreck of the Titan: Or, Futility by American author Morgan Robertson is said by some to have foretold the RMS Titanic disaster. The similarities between fiction and reality are eerie indeed. The ocean liner in Roberton's novella was named Titan. It also sank in the North Atlantic after hitting an iceberg in the same month of April. And to think that this book was published in 1898 — 14 years before the RMS Titanic met its doom. (File size: 119.6 KiB, EPUB format)


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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (illustrated, PDF format)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a poem in seven parts by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) illustrated with 38 works by the great French printmaker, Gustave Doré (1832–1883). This jewel of English literature is a story of sin, suffering and redemption.The title character stops one of three young men on their way to a wedding party and mesmerises him with the tale of his youthful saga at sea — how he killed an albatross and brought bad luck to himself and his fellow sailors. (File size: 8.4 MiB, PDF, 54 pages)


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The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (illustrated, EPUB format for smartphones)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a poem in seven parts by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772–1834) illustrated with 38 works by the great French printmaker, Gustave Doré (1832–1883). This jewel of English literature is a story of sin, suffering and redemption.The title character stops one of three young men on their way to a wedding party and mesmerises him with the tale of his youthful saga at sea — how he killed an albatross and brought bad luck to himself and his fellow sailors. (File size: 5.0 MiB, EPUB)


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Sea-Fairies and Other Poems by Alfred Tennyson (illustrated)

Five quarter-centuries after his death, the poems of Alfred, Lord Tennyson (English, 6 August 1809 – 6 October 1892) continue to delight readers around the world. Sea-Fairies and Other Poems was published in 1890 and contains six of his beautiful, albeit lesser known, poems. Characteristic of the lilting quality of Tennyson's poetic language are these closing lines from 'The Sea-Fairies': O, listen, listen, your eyes shall glisten/ When the sharp clear twang of the golden chords/ Runs up the ridged sea./ Who can light on as happy a shore/ All the world o’er, all the world o’er?/  Whither away? listen and stay; mariner, mariner, fly no more.   (File size: 5.5. MiB, PDF, 48 pages)    


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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson (for smartphones and tablets)

This masterpiece by Scottish novelist Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894) tells of the adventures of Jim Hawkins and his search for the buried treasure of an evil pirate, Captain Flint. The book is "both for and of all ages," says Stefan Beck in a review published in The Wall Street Journal. He writes: Stevenson's prose is a pleasure not only for its precision and grace but also for its ability to capture the ugly or uncanny. His descriptions of people—Black Dog, a "pale, tallowy figure wanting two fingers"; the Sasquatch-like maroon Ben Gunn; and of course Silver, "hopping about upon [his crutch] like a bird" and grinning from a "face as big as a ham"—bring them forth from the page before any has spoken a word. (File size: 985.8 KiB, EPUB format)  


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Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative) by Herman Melville (for smartphones and tablets)

Herman Melville's final novel, Billy Budd, Sailor (An Inside Narrative), is essential reading for literary buffs and even admiralty law students. First published posthumously in 1924, the unfinished work tells the story of Billy Budd, a young and handsome seaman who is conscripted into service aboard the HMS Bellipotent in 1797. Budd is popular amongst the crew except for the ship's evil and jealous master-at-arms, John Claggart. The latter falsely accuses him of conspiracy to mutiny. Budd kills Claggart during a meeting between the two men called by the captain, which leads to Budd's court-martial and subsequent execution. (File size: 154.1 KiB, EPUB format)  


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Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (last chapter, audio)

Listen to a wonderful reading of Chapter 135 (The Chase — Third Day) of Herman Melville's masterpiece. This last chapter describes Captain Ahab's final encounter with Moby-Dick which would seal the fate of the whaling ship Pequod and its crew. Read by James Naughtie and introduced by Peter Donaldson, the audio file is courtesy of The Arts Institute, University of Plymouth, in the UK. (File size: 25.9 MiB, MP3)    


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Youth by Joseph Conrad (for smartphones and tablets)

Enjoy this autobiographical short story by the great Polish-born British writer and former ship captain, Joseph Conrad (1857–1924)). Written in 1898, Youth begins with five veterans of the merchant navy drinking red wine around a table. Marlow, one of the men, then narrates his first voyage to the East as second mate on board the Judea 22 years earlier, when he was aged 20. The story is punctuated with some moving descriptions of the sea, as in this excerpt: The sea was white like a sheet of foam, like a caldron of boiling milk; there was not a break in the clouds, no — not the size of a man’s hand — no, not for so much as ten seconds... (File size: 74.5 KiB, EPUB) — NOTE: Transfer the downloaded file to your device. You need to have an e-book reader app if you are using a smartphone or tablet, You can also read the EPUB file  on a desktop computer using a book reader such as FBReader.


 1 file(s)  24 downloadsCategory: Literary WorksDownload

Moby-Dick; or, The Whale (for smartphones and tablets)

Carry one of the greatest literary classics in your pocket. Herman Melville's Moby-Dick; or, The Whale is not just an adventure novel about a mad ship captain and his vengeful quest for the White Whale. It is filled with philosophical musings on life and the human condition. This EPUB edition is perfect for reading on your smartphone, tablet or e-book reader such as Kindle. NOTE: You need to have an e-book reader app installed on your smartphone or tablet. (File size: 537.5 KiB , EPUB)


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Moby-Dick; or, The Whale

First published in 1851, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale by Herman Melville arguably marks the beginning of modern American literature. It is not just an adventure novel about Captain Ahab and his vengeful quest for the White Whale. As Robert McCrum noted in a book review for The Guardian newspaper: Moby-Dick is...the great American novel whose genius was only recognised long after its author was dead. From its celebrated opening line ("Call me Ishmael") it plunges the reader into the narrator's quest for meaning "in the damp, drizzly November of my soul". (File size: 3.2 MiB, PDF, 861 pages)


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Sea Grist: A Personal Narrative of Five Months in the Merchant Marine

This non-fiction book is a must-read for anyone who wants to become a seafarer. Published in 1922, it should appeal to all modern-day readers who love sea literature. Says author Lehmann Hisey in his Preface: "My purpose in relating this experience in the Merchant Marine is to show the fellow who craves sea life and adventure that these things are not all he may think them to be. My service extended over a period of five months and this little tale gives the actual daily life and work, neither softened nor exaggerated, but told exactly as it occurred. I have endeavored to show not only the routine, discipline and associates, but the effect of these on one's character and ideals." (File size: 53.9 MiB, PDF, 269 pages in sequence)


 1 file(s)  92 downloadsCategory: Literary Works, Seafaring and ManningDownload

Sea Garden

Sea Garden was the first book of H.D., the pen name of American poet Hilda Doolittle. Published in 1916, it remains a literary gem. Many of the 28 poems in this slim volume make use of sea-related imagery to powerfully express the poet's angst and her thoughts about love and life. (File size: 1.5 MiB, PDF)


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