Meandering Merchants and Narrators in Captain Marryat’s Nautical Fiction

Ayşe Çelikkol

in Romances of Free Trade

Published in print July 2011 | ISBN: 9780199769001
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199896943 | DOI:
Meandering Merchants and Narrators in Captain Marryat’s Nautical Fiction

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In the plots of many of Marryat’s novels, from Mr. Midshipman Easy (1836) to Snarleyyow (1837), naval sailors frequently digress from their military and colonial duties to transport commodities to distant corners of the world. The nautical figure of the unruly seafarer indexes the autonomous subjectivity imagined in defenses of free trade. In Marryat’s novels, once ships deviate from preset paths, the ensuing adventures take place in the romance mode, and the open seas become an amorphous space for wild adventures. Relating the imagination of transnationality to narrative structure, this chapter argues that the dispersive trajectories of merchant-sailors match the digressive, seemingly uncontrollable nature of narration in nautical novels. The episodic structure that characterizes the romance mode thus replicates the dispersal of commodities.

Keywords: Captain Marryat; nautical fiction; liberalism; Snarleyyow; King’s Own; Phantom Ship; Mr. Midshipman Easy

Chapter.  8008 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (19th Century)

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