Special Issue "Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 May 2022) | Viewed by 8403

Special Issue Editors

Department of English, Purdue University, Heavilon Hall, 500 Oval Dr., West Lafayette, IN 47907, USA
Interests: long eighteenth century literature and culture; periodical writing; gender and authorship; genre studies; piracy and the literature of piracy; transatlantic studies; maritime history; travel writing; popular stage traditions; dragon myths and literature
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Department of English, American and Romance Studies, FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg, 91054 Erlangen, Germany
Interests: early modern culture and drama; collaboration and/in theatre; early modern narratives of piracy; (early modern) law and literature; contemporary British literature and culture; gender studies and feminist theory; neo-Victorianism; (film) adaptation; fungal narratives; popular culture; questions of canonization and genre

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Pirates remain one of the most enduringly popular topics in films, novels, plays, computer games and other cultural products for adults and children alike. In recent years, key works in pirate studies have discussed piracy and pirates as cultural intermediaries, as actors in both the formation and destruction of national and imperial identities, and as transnational and transoceanic mediators of global geopolitical forces. Pirate writing is an equally diverse and energetic field, producing notable novels, poems, and plays, as well as other hybrid and experimental literary forms. Pirate literature is both multicultural and multilingual, and has been a focus of human creativity across political boundaries and historical periods.

In 2020, the journal Humanities published a Special Issue on Pirates in English Literature featuring literary, historical and cultural studies perspectives on piratical appearances in a wide variety of genres and periods. Due to the success of this issue, the journal editors have authorized a new volume on the topic. As before, the issue seeks to explore and interrogate similarities and differences in how pirates and piracy are represented across historical periods and in different cultural narratives. “English” literature is interpreted capaciously, to include works of translation and works that engage issues of cultural and linguistic transmission. Comparative treatments of piracy and pirates are welcome, and articles on non-traditional literary forms are encouraged, including travel writing and the literature of exploration and trade.

The editors encourage the submission of papers on all aspects of piracy in English print and manuscript cultures, including: pirates and voyages of discovery; pirates and imperialism/colonialism and/or the transatlantic and barbary slave trades; pirates as heroes; pirates as villains; pirate trials; pirate balladry; pirates and gender/sexuality; the ambiguity of pirate identities; pirates and children’s literature; pirates and the Bildungsroman; pirates and the pantomime; piracy as metaphor; pirates in fact and pirates in fiction. Approaches that are interdisciplinary or emphasize the boundary shifting and transnational qualities of piracy are especially welcome.

Please send an abstract of 300 words and short bio by 30 November 2021 to: & . If the abstract is accepted, full essay drafts will be due on 31 May 2022.

Prof. Manushag N. Powell
Dr. Susanne Gruß
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • pirates
  • Caribbean
  • barbary
  • privateers
  • sea dogs
  • treasure
  • buccaneers
  • corsairs

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Pirate Assemblage
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050126 - 12 Oct 2022
Viewed by 1351
Abstract
This essay “Pirate Assemblage” explores two related questions. The first is how we read and appreciate the literary form of pirate literature such as Alexander Exquemelin’s Buccaneers of America (1678) and Charles Johnson’s two-volume General History of the Pyrates (volume one 1724, volume [...] Read more.
This essay “Pirate Assemblage” explores two related questions. The first is how we read and appreciate the literary form of pirate literature such as Alexander Exquemelin’s Buccaneers of America (1678) and Charles Johnson’s two-volume General History of the Pyrates (volume one 1724, volume two 1728). The second is what the answer to that first question suggests for how we regard pirate literature in relation to more canonical eighteenth-century literature and how this relation might revise our reading of that literature. My answer to the first question explores the concept of “assemblage” for reading and appreciating pirate literature, and my answer to the second question that eighteenth-century literature read in relation to this “pirate assemblage” suggests new ways of reading canonical texts such as Jonathan Swift’s Gulliver’s Travels (1726) and John Gay’s Beggar’s Opera (1728) that were written soon after the first volume of The General History of Pyrates. In doing so, my essay responds to the large body of scholarly literature on pirates that has focused on the question of identity—race, class, gender, and sexuality—and the question of whether or not such literature was transgressive. In my essay, by closely reading the unique literary form of pirate literature and utilizing Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s concepts of “assemblage” and “minor literature,” I argue that pirate literature, rather than representing transgressive identities, instead progressively produces new economic and social connections that deterritorializes the economy, literary form, and language. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
Article
“In Truth, They Are My Masters”: The Domestic Threat of Early Modern Piracy
Humanities 2022, 11(5), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11050123 - 29 Sep 2022
Viewed by 952
Abstract
Thomas Walton (known as Purser) and Clinton Atkinson (known as Clinton) were hanged for piracy in 1583. This article examines a range of texts relating to Purser and Clinton, including court depositions, plays and ballads, to consider the ways in which their lives [...] Read more.
Thomas Walton (known as Purser) and Clinton Atkinson (known as Clinton) were hanged for piracy in 1583. This article examines a range of texts relating to Purser and Clinton, including court depositions, plays and ballads, to consider the ways in which their lives and deaths were depicted and discover what this might tell us about contemporary attitudes towards piracy. Purser and Clinton were based in Dorset where the boundaries delineating piracy as an illegal activity were blurred and the local beneficiaries of piracy spanned the social hierarchy, reaching as high as nobility and the Admiralty. A wealth of textual evidence details the links between the maritime and littoral networks which sustained their activities, enabled their rise to prominence, and engineered their ultimate downfall. In reading together both official documents and popular printed texts this article reveals some of the complex networks which supported and were supported by piracy and, in doing so, locates the figure of the pirate within wider discourses of society, governance and mobility. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
Article
“Though I Am a Woman, I Am Not a Defenceless One!”: Women and Violence in Nineteenth-Century Pirate Stories
Humanities 2022, 11(4), 91; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11040091 - 22 Jul 2022
Viewed by 983
Abstract
Resonating with British and American audiences and inspiring many later pirate stories, Byron’s The Corsair (1814) participated in a transatlantic conversation about female responses to violent masculinity. In an 1869 Rhode Island newspaper article, a woman recalled reading The Corsair as a child [...] Read more.
Resonating with British and American audiences and inspiring many later pirate stories, Byron’s The Corsair (1814) participated in a transatlantic conversation about female responses to violent masculinity. In an 1869 Rhode Island newspaper article, a woman recalled reading The Corsair as a child and debating whether to name her favorite doll Medora, the wife of the pirate, or Gulnare, the woman who kills their captor to rescue the pirate. Within the poem, Gulnare becomes less desirable in the eyes of the pirate after her violent act, but S. H. W. decides on Gulnare and sews on a needle-like bodkin to represent her dagger, thereby providing her doll with the symbol of Gulnare’s violent agency. This particular reader response suggests that Gulnare’s violent and independent action, which gave her control over her situation, resonated with some female readers in America. Authors of early American pirate stories, such as James Fenimore Cooper, refused to endorse a model of womanhood that included violence. However, Ballou’s extremely popular FannyCampbell (1844) constructed a lady pirate who embodies a model of womanhood that incorporates some conventional feminine traits of virtue, moral influence, and redemptive womanhood, but also draws on the justified violence of the male adventure hero. As a female pirate captain, Fanny combines aspects of the honorable gentleman pirate from The Corsair with the active woman, not unlike Gulnare, who realizes that in certain situations redemption and rescue are not options, and she must use violence in defense of herself and others. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
Article
The Liues, Apprehensions, Arraignments, and Executions of the 19 Late Pyrates: Jacobean Piracy in Law and Literature
Humanities 2022, 11(4), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11040082 - 29 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1403
Abstract
The 1609 pamphlet The liues, apprehensions, arraignments, and executions of the 19 late pyrates tells the stories of nineteen pirates trialled in 1609. Historians of Jacobean piracy have used this pamphlet as evidence, finding value in its detailed, dramatic accounts of maritime depredation—yet [...] Read more.
The 1609 pamphlet The liues, apprehensions, arraignments, and executions of the 19 late pyrates tells the stories of nineteen pirates trialled in 1609. Historians of Jacobean piracy have used this pamphlet as evidence, finding value in its detailed, dramatic accounts of maritime depredation—yet it has often escaped close textual analysis. This article analyses the pamphlet’s content and context, in doing so illuminating the tensioned relationship between legal, state, and popular cultural narratives of what constituted a “pirate”. The pamphlet provides an opportunity to further discuss the ambiguous, developing cultural role of piracy (and its perpetrators) at this time. It allows us to approach such questions as: which elements of a pirate’s story were interesting to the seventeenth-century audience, and which elements marked out acts of depredation as truly being “piracy”? How does the source approach legal proceedings, and digest them for popular consumption? What place does this pamphlet have in the wider canon of piracy’s print culture? This article suggests that the figure of the pirate could be redeemed, where it was reconcilable with the sensibilities of the terrestrial community—however, tensions arose when different groups imposed their own ideologies and intentions upon the criminal. These tensions appear in the differences between representations of maritime depredation emanating from the state and from the public—differences visible in the transmission of information from law to literature. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
Article
“Merrily to Hell Together”: Threats of Self-Destruction among Golden Age Pirates
Humanities 2022, 11(3), 71; https://doi.org/10.3390/h11030071 - 09 Jun 2022
Viewed by 1630
Abstract
The threat of death hung over every aspect of pirate life during the Golden Age of piracy. They threatened governors and governments who dared to capture, prosecute, and hang their fellow buccaneers. They threatened their victims for running away, for fighting back, or [...] Read more.
The threat of death hung over every aspect of pirate life during the Golden Age of piracy. They threatened governors and governments who dared to capture, prosecute, and hang their fellow buccaneers. They threatened their victims for running away, for fighting back, or for hiding their money. They even threatened death on each other should any of them suggest leaving off their chosen course or for betraying their company. Even the iconic skull and crossbones “Jolly Roger” pirate flag was a visible, physical symbol of a threat of death: for victims it was a reminder that surrender may mean mercy, but resistance would be fatal; and for the Pirates themselves, a grim reminder that capture or failure could mean their end. Many pirate crews in the Golden Age took this menace of death to the extreme by threatening to blow up their ship to avoid the noose, promising to take prisoners and pirates, captives and captors, and gold and galleon to the bottom of the ocean, going “merrily to Hell together”. Yet despite their boasts and despite embracing the symbols of death, when the time came to make good on their oaths, few of these crews took that final explosive step and fewer still succeeded. This paper examines twenty incidents from the Golden Age of piracy in which pirates or their victims threatened or attempted to blow up their ships and themselves to avoid capture. Witness statements, period newspaper accounts, and trial testimony reveal that the threat was frequent but the attempt was not. In the end it was often prevented by the pirates themselves after a change of heart, despite promising one another that they would “live & dye together”. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Pirates in English Literature and Culture, Vol. 2)
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