From Publishers Weekly
In this well-written and expertly paced work of popular scholarship, Woodward, an associate editor of the Adams papers, tells the story of William Strachey, an aspiring poet whose chronicle of a disastrous sea voyage and its aftermath had a profound influence on Shakespeare's The Tempest. Strachey is a fine figure for historical resurrection—he was good friends with John Donne and a passenger on pioneering journeys to the New World, which eventually brought him, aboard the Sea Venture, to Bermuda and the infant Jamestown colony in Virginia. Woodward draws heavily on Strachey's written narrative, often to marvelous effect. This is particularly true of the dramatic storm scenes, in which the entire crew of the Sea Venture nearly perished. Through Strachey, Woodward tells of the conflicts that divided the crew after making landfall in Bermuda and the hardships of replenishing a starving Jamestown's supplies. The heart of the book is Woodward's recreation of Strachey's viewing of The Tempest, which affords the author the opportunity to catalogue the narrative and linguistic parallels between the Sea Venture's travails and the play—fascinating fodder for the committed Shakespearean source hunter. Maps. (July 13)
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" At once a penetrating work of literary analysis and a riveting historical narrative."
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"At once a penetrating work of literary analysis and a riveting historical narrative, Hobson Woodward's A Brave Vessel reveals the salty survival tale at the heart of Shakespeare's New World masterpiece, The Tempest."
-Nathaniel Philbrick, author of In the Heart of the Sea and Mayflower
"On the 400th anniversary of the Sea Venture's wreck on Bermuda, Hobson Woodward recounts the events and personalities of the voyage, the island refuge, and the early Jamestown Colony. He tells the story with accuracy and verve, and makes a compelling case for Shakespeare's indebtedness to William Strachey when writing The Tempest. Woodward's Brave Vessel is learned, lucid, and engrossing."
-Alden Vaughan, Professor emeritus of History at Columbia University and coeditor of the Arden edition of The Tempest
A Brave Vessel is a real-life story of heroism and human ambition as thrilling as any Hollywood fiction. Injecting popular history with a wealth of little-known detail, it traces a fascinating story of unlikely survival-and the impact a single, freak event in the mid-Atlantic had on the fortunes of America's birthplace and the world's greatest playwright. Woodward immerses us in the mindset of 17-century colonists and the immense challenges and tragedies of their endeavor. He entwines true events with their literary spin-offs, and in doing so, brings both to life.
-Rosemary Jones, author, Bermuda: Five Centuries
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.