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The execution of Captain William Kidd on 23 May 1701 is one of the most controversial and revealing episodes in the long history of piracy. The legend that has grown up around Kidds final voyage, his concealed treasure and the dubious conduct of his trial, has made him into one of the most intriguing and misunderstood figures from the golden age of piracy. For either Kidd was a legal privateer or he was a wicked pirate indeed he has been described as one of the most feared pirates to sail the high seas. But his story is complex and ambiguous. This timely new account of Kidds life and seafaring career reassesses the man and his legend it makes compelling reading.
Combining the disciplines of folklore and literary criticism in his perceptive readings of works by Irving, Hawthorne, Melville, and Mark Twain, Daniel Hoffman demonstrates how these authors transformed materials from both high and popular culture, from their European past and their American present, in works that helped to form our national consciousness. In his new preface, Hoffman describes the evolution of his critical method and suggests the book's value for contemporary readers.
Legendary figures of the Golden Age of Piracy. Stories of great battles. Contains a Glossary of pirate ships and nautical items.
The legends that die hardest are those of the romantic outlaw, and those of swashbuckling pirates are surely among the most durable. Swift ships, snug inns, treasures buried by torchlight, palm-fringed beaches, fabulous riches, and, most of all, freedom from the mean life of the laboring man are the stuff of this tradition reinforced by many a novel and film. It is disconcerting to think of such dashing scoundrels as slaves to economic forces, but so they were—as Robert Ritchie demonstrates in this lively history of piracy. He focuses on the shadowy figure of William Kidd, whose career in the late seventeenth century swept him from the Caribbean to New York, to London, to the Indian Ocean before he ended in Newgate prison and on the gallows. Piracy in those days was encouraged by governments that could not afford to maintain a navy in peacetime. Kidd’s most famous voyage was sponsored by some of the most powerful men in England, and even though such patronage granted him extraordinary privileges, it tied him to the political fortunes of the mighty Whig leaders. When their influence waned, the opposition seized upon Kidd as a weapon. Previously sympathetic merchants and shipowners did an about-face too and joined the navy in hunting down Kidd and other pirates. By the early eighteenth century, pirates were on their way to becoming anachronisms. Ritchie’s wide-ranging research has probed this shift in the context of actual voyages, sea fights, and adventures ashore. What sort of men became pirates in the first place, and why did they choose such an occupation? What was life like aboard a pirate ship? How many pirates actually became wealthy? How were they governed? What large forces really caused their downfall? As the saga of the buccaneers unfolds, we see the impact of early modern life: social changes and Anglo-American politics, the English judicial system, colonial empires, rising capitalism, and the maturing bureaucratic state are all interwoven in the story. Best of all, Captain Kidd and the War against the Pirates is an epic of adventure on the high seas and a tale of back-room politics on land that captures the mind and the imagination.
Treasure Neverland is about factual and fictional pirates. Swashbuckling eighteenth-century pirates were the ideal pirates of all time and tales of their exploits are still popular today. Most people have heard of Blackbeard and Captain Kidd even though they lived about three hundred years ago, but most have also heard of other pirates, such as Long John Silver and Captain Hook, even though these pirates never lived at all, except in literature. The differences between these two types of pirates - real and imaginary - are not quite as stark as we might think as the real, historical pirates are themselves somewhat legendary, somewhat fictional, belonging on the page and the stage rather than on the high seas. Based on extensive research of fascninating primary material, including testimonials, narratives, legal statements, colonial and mercantile records, Neil Rennie describes the ascertainable facts of real eighteenth-century pirate lives and then investigates how such facts were subsequently transformed artistically, by writers like Defoe and Stevenson, into realistic and fantastic fictions of various kinds: historical novels, popular melodramas, boyish adventures, Hollywood films. Rennie's aim is to watch, in other words, the long dissolve from Captain Kidd to Johnny Depp. There are surprisingly few scholarly studies of the factual pirates - properly analysing the basic manuscript sources and separating those documents from popular legends - and there are even fewer literary-historical studies of the whole crew of fictional pirates, although those imaginary pirates form a distinct and coherent literary tradition. Treasure Neverland is a study of this Scots-American literary tradition and also of the interrelations between the factual and fictional pirates - pirates who are intimately related, as the nineteenth-century writings about fictional pirates began with the eighteenth-century writings about supposedly real pirates. 'What I want is the best book about the Buccaneers', wrote Stevenson when he began Treasure Island in 1881. What he received, rightly, was indeed the best book: the sensational and unreliable History of the Pyrates (1724).
Folklore has been described as the unwritten literature of a culture: its songs, stories, sayings, games, rituals, beliefs, and ways of life. Encyclopedia of American Folklore helps readers explore topics, terms, themes, figures, and issues related to this popular subject. This comprehensive reference guide addresses the needs of multiple audiences, including high school, college, and public libraries, archive and museum collections, storytellers, and independent researchers. Its content and organization correspond to the ways educators integrate folklore within literacy and wider learning objectives for language arts and cultural studies at the secondary level. This well-rounded resource connects United States folk forms with their cultural origin, historical context, and social function. Appendixes include a bibliography, a category index, and a discussion of starting points for researching American folklore. References and bibliographic material throughout the text highlight recently published and commonly available materials for further study. Coverage includes: Folk heroes and legendary figures, including Paul Bunyan and Yankee Doodle Fables, fairy tales, and myths often featured in American folklore, including "Little Red Riding Hood" and "The Princess and the Pea" American authors who have added to or modified folklore traditions, including Washington Irving Historical events that gave rise to folklore, including the civil rights movement and the Revolutionary War Terms in folklore studies, such as fieldwork and the folklife movement Holidays and observances, such as Christmas and Kwanzaa Topics related to folklore in everyday life, such as sports folklore and courtship/dating folklore Folklore related to cultural groups, such as Appalachian folklore and African-American folklore and more.
This book explores in depth the origins, development, and prospects of outlawry and of the relationship of outlaws to the social conditions of changing times. Throughout American history you will find larger-than-life brigands in every period and every region. Often, because we hunger for simple justice, we romanticize them to the point of being unable to separate fact from fiction. Frank Richard Prassel brings this home in a thorough and fascinating examination of the concept of outlawry from Robin Hood, Dick Turpin, and Blackbeard through Jean Lafitte, Pancho Villa, and Billy the Kid to more modern personalities such as John Dillinger, Claude Dallas, and D. B. Cooper. A separate chapter on molls, plus equal treatment in the histories of gangs, traces women's involvement in outlaw activities. Prassel covers the folklore as well as the facts, even including an appendix of ballads by and about outlaws. He makes clear how this motley group of bandits, pirates, highwaymen, desperadoes, rebels, hoodlums, renegades, gangsters, and fugitives—who stand tall in myth—wither in the light of truth, but flourish in the movies. As he tells the stories, there is little to confirm that Jesse and Frank James, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, the Daltons, Pretty Boy Floyd, Ma Barker, Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker, Belle Starr, the Apache Kid, or any of the so-called good badmen, did anything that did not enrich or otherwise benefit themselves. But there is plenty of evidence, in the form of slain victims and ruined lives, to show how many ways they caused harm. The Great American Outlaw is as much an excellent survey on the phenomenon as it is a brilliant exposition of the larger than-life figures who created it. Above all, it is a tribute to that aspect of humanity that Americans admire most and that Prassel describes as a willingness "to fight, however hopelessly, against exhibitions of privilege."
Everybody knows the legend of Captain Kidd, America's most ruthless buccanneer. Few people realize that the facts of his life make for a much better tale. Kidd was actually a tough New York sea captain hired to chase pirates, a married war hero whose secret mission took a spectacularly bad turn. This harrowing tale traces Kidd's voyages in the 1690s from his home near Wall Street to Whitehall Palace in London, from the ports of the Caribbean to a secret pirate paradise off Madagascar. Author Richard Zacks, during his research, also unearthed the story of a long forgotten rogue named Robert Culliford, who dogged Kidd and led Kidd's crew to mutiny not once but twice. The lives of Kidd and Culliford play out like an unscripted duel: one man would hang in the harbor, the other would walk away with the treasure. Filled with superb writing and impeccable research, The Pirate Hunter is both a masterpiece of historical detective work and a ripping good yarn, and it delivers something rare: an authentic pirate story for grown-ups.
Despite, or perhaps because of, our lack of actual knowledge about pirates, an immense architecture of cultural mythology has arisen around them. Three hundred years of novels, plays, painting, and movies have etched into the popular imagination contradictory images of the pirate as both arch-criminal and anti-hero par excellence. How did the pirate-a real threat to mercantilism and trade in early-modern Britain-become the hypermasculine anti-hero familiar to us through a variety of pop culture outlets? How did the pirate's world, marked as it was by sexual and economic transgression, come to capture our collective imagination? In Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash, Hans Turley delves deep into the archives to examine the homoerotic and other culturally transgressive aspects of the pirate's world and our prurient fascination with it. Turley fastens his eye on historical documents, trial records, and the confessions of pirates, as well as literary works such as Robinson Crusoe, to track the birth and development of the pirate image and to show its implications for changing notions of self, masculinity, and sexuality in the modern era. Turley's wide-ranging analysis provides a new kind of history of both piracy and desire, articulating the meaning of the pirate's contradictory image to literary, cultural, and historical studies.
Three hundred years ago, Captain Kidd was hanged for piracy, but before died he claimed to have hidden a vast fortune in the Indies. In the years since, maps to the fabled island have appeared and there have been many attempts to recover that treasure. This book examines Kidd’s life against the backdrop of piracy in the Indian Ocean and concludes that there is much to justify his claim, and even more to his story - a life of piracy thrust upon him by noble backers, men who broke their own laws and then let him die for their crimes.
American Stories follows the evolution of our founding stories and myths and how they spread far and wide throughout our history. The story of the cherry tree, for example, tells us nothing about George Washington’s actual childhood, but surely it tells us something about what Americans wanted in the father of their country—an incorruptible leader of the people. Along the same lines, the story of Betsy Ross’s flag tells us nothing about how the Stars and Stripes came to be, but does tell us something about what Americans wanted in a founding mother—it is no coincidence that the Ross story, featuring a traditional woman’s role of sewing at home, was first told in 1870, one year after Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony challenged these roles by founding the National Woman Suffrage Association. There’s another reason these stories spread, and that provides another reason to follow their evolution. From Dodge City to Deadwood, and from Bunker Hill to San Juan Hill and beyond, these stories all have one thing in common: they are all a lot of fun to read.
Meet a New England sea captain whose rare combination of guts and wit enabled him to make a living on the water, in good times -- and in bad.
Most frequently regarded as a writer of the supernatural, Poe was actually among the most versatile of American authors, writing social satire, comic hoaxes, mystery stories, science fiction, prose poems, literary criticism and theory, and even a play. As a journalist and editor, Poe was closely in touch with the social, political, and cultural trends of nineteenth-century America. In Edgar Allan Poe: Beyond Gothicism, twelve authors examine this 'other' Poe.