dmarley: Fingerpainting (Cap from
Sobel, Dava. Longitude: The True Story of a Lone Genius Who Solved the Greatest Scientific Problem of His Time. New York: Walker and Co, 1995. (Also available in an Illustrated Edition, which I recommend. The A&E network also made a very good four-hour movie based on the book, which you might be able to find for rent or at a library.)

This lovely little book chronicles the story of John Harrison, the man who finally created the first reliable marine timekeeper, and thus solved the problem of finding longitude at sea. Along the way, Sobel gives a concise yet detailed picture of the "longitude problem" as it stood in the 1700s, managing to convey the enormity of the issue, and the effect it had on the lives of every sailor who braved the seas. Very good for getting a feel for the methods of navigation that weren't possible in the 1720s.

The Cliff Notes Version )
dmarley: Fingerpainting (Cap from
So, being the committed slasher that I am, one of the first things I did when beginning my Pirates of the Caribbean research was look for books about pirate sexuality. I found and read two that addressed the subject in detail, and thought I'd give some summary/review for the benefit of those attempting to discuss 17th Century pirates and their sexuality.

(Note: I should probably mention that there was no equivalent term for "homosexual" or "gay" in the 17th Century. Not only did the words not exist in their current meaning, there was in fact no actual formal concept of same-sex sexual preference. Same-sex sexual relationships were instead defined in the courtroom by the legal definitions of sodomy, which is why that term is used so frequently in my summaries.)

Sodomy and the Pirate Tradition by B. R. Burg )

September 2012

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