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Image of the Sea

Oceanic Consciousness in the Romantic Century

Howard Isham

This book explores the unprecedented surge or oceanic feeling in the aesthetic expression of the romantic century. As secular thought began to displace the certainties of a sacral universe, the oceans that give life to our planet offered a symbol of eternity, rooted in the experience of nature rather than Biblical tradition. Images of the sea permeated the minds of the early Romantics, became a significant ingredient of romantic expression, and continued to emerge in the language, literature, art, and music of the nineteenth century. These pages document the evidence for this oceanic consciousness in some of the most creative minds of that century.