The Reef, the Beach, and the Cave

Saturday, January 9, 2010: 2:50 PM
Manchester Ballroom A (Hyatt)
D. Graham Burnett , Princeton University, Princeton, NJ
I propose to offer a a juxaposition of three significant ocean spaces—the reef, the beach, and the sea-cave or cavern—as they are presented in three idiosyncratic works of literature: James Fenimore Cooper's "Jack Tier or the Florida Reef"; Wallace Stevens' "The Idea of Order at Key West"; and Victor Hugo's "Toilers of the Sea."  I am interested in the ways that these sites/structures function narratively, and will work to suggest their relevance to historical thinking about the seas.