The Marine Quarterly for winter 2014 is out now, and looks good!
Its articles and extracts include Francis B Cooke writing about life on board his Faversham-built smack at Christmas, Sophia Kingshill on the subject of mermaids and Jonathon Green explaining slang words related to fish. Read more extracts from the Quarterly here.
Here’s a quote from Cooke:
‘We called her a yacht, but I am now rather inclined to think that the title was something of a courtesy, for she was in fact an old smack built in the early days of the last century. However, she had been bought with hard-earned money, and if it was our pleasure to call her a yacht it concerned nobody but ourselves. The Five Sisters, of Faversham, had laboured for upwards of eighty years over the oyster beds at Whitstable, and her owner accepted our offer of £35 with a haste that might almost be described as unseemly. But she would float and had her full complement of gear, and thirty shillings a ton can hardly be considered an extravagant price to pay for a yacht.’
And from Sophia Kingshill:
‘There is of course a paradox in the attribution of any kind of sexuality to a fishtailed creature. Without human genitalia, the mermaid is an unsatisfactory femme fatale. Psychoanalysis might suggest that’s the point, the ultimate passion being one that can’t be consummated. Folklore and fairy tale propose the solution that a mermaid has a tail only when she’s in water; on land she has legs, and everything in between. The evolution of the mermaid is, in short, a complex matter.’
And finally Jonathon Green:
‘Fish can serve as a synonym for money and monetary tokens – gambling chips, dollars, and sterling. It also makes itself useful in the wider world. There is the fish, a sailor (who is scaly, which implies rough but honest) and a non-specific individual who is usually garlanded by a characterising adjective and can be big, little, cool, poor, odd, queer or even loose, which refers to a woman (note German’s haifisch, a youthful trollop, and whaling jargon loose fish, a whale that is fair game for anybody who can catch it).’