The Islands and the Sea

The Islands and the Sea : Five Hundred Years of Nature Writing from the Caribbean

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"Everyone has to learn to see the West Indies tropics for himself," wrote V.S. Naipaul in The Middle Passage. "The landscape has never been recorded...the depth of sky, the brilliancy of light, the insubstantiality of colour in the tropics. The more gifted painters have ceased to record the landscape: the patterns of the leaves are too beguiling." The Islands and the Sea includes dozens of writers--poets and novelists, naturalists and explorers--who, like Naipaul help us to see the beguiling Caribbean through their eyes. Editor John Murray opens this anthology, the first of its kind, with an informed essay that provides a perspective on the region in history and literature. Murray then presents writers ranging from Daniel Defoe to Barry Lopez, from Charles Darwin to Edward O. Wilson. In these selections, one can step ashore with Columbus on San Salvador Island in 1492, travel up the forbidding Orinoco River with Sir Walter Raleigh, and explore ancient Mayan ruins along the coast with swashbuckling John Stephens in 1843. Ernest Hemingway, writing to Maxwell Perkins from Key West, Florida, describes the aftermath of the famous Matecumbe hurricane: "Indian Key absolutely swept clean, not a blade of grass, and over the high center of it were scattered live conchs that came in with the sea, craw fish, and dead morays. The whole bottom of the sea blew over it." Other contemporary writers include Barry Lopez, Derek Walcott, Rachel Carson, Jamaica Kincaid, and Roger Caras. With each selection Murray includes an informative introduction. A Republic of Rivers, John Murray's anthology of nature writing on Alaska and the Yukon, was hailed for its judicious selections, deft editing, and, most importantly, its ability to capture and communicate a sense of place. In The Islands and the Sea, he once again gathers an enthralling collection of writings that convey the beauty Caribbean's luminous waters, its rich, green hillsides, teeming reefs, and remarkable varied people.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 349 pages
  • 152.4 x 236.22 x 33.02mm | 680.39g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • halftones, maps
  • 0195066774
  • 9780195066777

About John A. Murray

About the Editor: John A. Murray is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, and is the editor of A Republic of Rivers: Three Centuries of Nature Writing from Alaska and the Yukon.show more

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