Wednesday, June 22, 2005


I am a huge fan of pirates and adventure stories. I remember reading Swiss Family Robinson and Kidnapped as a child and loving them. I also remember begging my dad for a pirate story with girls in it. He grinned and handed me more Robert Louis Stevenson. (Now, heaven be praised, we have Dora. Bless her.)

With my parents in Seattle after the Woolf Conference, I raved about having seen Ponting’s footage from Scott’s fatal journey to the South Pole (he died on the return, having arrived shortly after the Norwegians): we have to get these DVDs!

“Have you seen Shackleton?” my father asked. “It’s with Kenneth Branagh.”

Well, I have now. All six hours of it. Amazing. It’s great movie every way—beautiful with moving music; terrific acting; Branagh particularly good and moving and heroic. (I think it was a miniseries on A&E.) And I’m a convert to adventuring and exploring. (Although don’t expect me to embark on any myself.)

For sure there is more to be said about the long-suffering wife at home but, on the balance, I would send a child or spouse off to do some dangerous exploring before sending him or her off to war. Woolf speculates on the Freudian idea that perhaps violence is innate. If we do away with war, where do we put the impulse to violence? Adventure! Ship ahoy!


Anonymous said...

If you haven't checked out Andrea Barrett's Ship Fever and the following books to that, you should - her stories cover "the long-suffering wife at home" from a feminist angle as well as the adventuring and exploring bits.

Unknown said...

Yes--thank you for reminding me. I thought Ship Fever was magnificent and I'm glad to know that someone else has enjoyed the subsequent ones. I think she really gets the joys of adventuring and the feminist angle too.

genevieve said...

I saw smidgeons of the Shackleton miniseries and as always, Ken B. was right on the money. I have a dim memory of seeing his ship returning to Elephant Island (?) to collect the men - terribly moving. Must try to see the whole thing soon.
Me, I am a mad Hornblower fan - also a book that interests me (TBR)is a bio of Matthew Flinders, British explorer of Australia, who spent most of his married life either at sea or in jail on Mauritius.