Some More Sea

Patrick O’Brian

  • The Oxford Book of the Sea edited by Jonathan Raban
    Oxford, 524 pp, £17.95, April 1992, ISBN 0 19 214197 X

The last few years have been rich in Oxford Books, and I have read three of them: 18th-Century Verse and 18th-Century Women Poets, both edited with great skill and erudition by Roger Lonsdale, and Travel Verse, by Kevin Crossley-Holland. When I say ‘read them’ I mean I have dipped copiously, as one usually does with anthologies, sometimes taking years to digest the whole. They all addressed a finite but considerable field (there were many more women, much better poets, than I had supposed) and it seemed to me that they did so most successfully. The fourth to come my way was the Book of the Sea, and this time I read the whole collection right through, together with the preface; perhaps this was not the cleverest way of dealing with the book.

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