Shackleton Centenary Expedition

The Ancient Mariner December 03 2008

Gustave_Dore_Ancient_Mariner_Illustration.jpg

14.1 nm covered today - the team are starting to really up their daily average. Listen to Will Gow's report as he reads part of Coleridge's Ancient Mariner.

Click here to go to the Wikipedia website to read more about the Ancient Mariner, there are also some links to the poem itself including an audiobook read by Jane Aker, as part of Google's Project Gutenberg.

The poem itself relates the events experienced by a mariner on a long sea voyage. The Mariner stops a man who is on the way to a wedding ceremony, and begins to recite his story. The relevance to our own story is that the Mariner's tale begins with his ship departing on its journey, despite initial good fortune, the ship is driven south off course by a storm and eventually reaches Antarctica. An albatross then leads teh ship out of Antarctica.

The poem may have been inspired by James Cook's second voyage of exploration (1772-1775) of the South Seas and the Pacific Ocean; Coleridge's tutor, William Wales, was the astronomer on Cook's flagship and had a strong relationship with Cook. On his second voyage Cook plunged repeatedly below the Antarctic Circle to determine whether the fabled great southern continent existed. Critics have also opined that the poem may have been inspired by the voyage of Thomas James into the Arctic. "Some critics think that Coleridge drew upon James's account of hardship and lamentation in writing The Rime of the Ancient Mariner."


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