By Claire Jowitt

This inter-disciplinary research is the 1st to think about how representations of pirates addressed either nationwide political concerns and the time table of specific curiosity teams. taking a look at various recognized and ignored figures and texts, in addition to canonical ones, it indicates how attitudes to piracy and privateering have been debated and contested among 1550 and 1650. This number of broad-ranging essays via overseas figures bargains a brand new point of view on an early glossy cultural phenomenon, and satisfies the necessity for a scholarly, in-depth research of this crucial subject in Renaissance historical past.

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Because of the poet’s empathy and compassion, his in- 30 / Introduction sight into the human condition, and his struggle to maintain an ameliorative and humane faith, readers may ¤nd his treatment of death to be inspiring or provocative. Yet they may remain puzzled by the subtle verbal games that the poems play with them. Even his strongest utterances are tempered by an awareness of his human fallibility; hence his many shifting strategies to present a rounded view of death. Confronted on all sides by con®icting evidence and contradictory ideologies, he preferred to keep his own counsel, perceiving his world as a palimpsest of divine messages that he yearns to decipher for himself and his fellows.

To Think of Time” (1855)—Whitman’s ¤rst full-dress meditation on death—apparently re®ects a bitter crisis of con¤dence in a meaningful death and a fear of annihilation that are resolved by a kind of mystic revelation when he surveys the splendid world around him, one of several such moments in Leaves of Grass. The sublimated fear that death might extinguish his conscious identity crops up throughout Leaves of Grass. Some poems show how ¤ercely Whitman resisted the thought that his consciousness could end with his ¤nal breath; he considered such an ending to be a cosmic fraud, incompatible with his trust in an orderly and purposeful world.

24 If the tale is autobiographical we can conclude that early experiences honed the skills with which he comforted the sick and the dying and learned to speak the words of assurance they most wanted to hear. Most dying individuals, as Elisabeth Kübler-Ross discovered during years of observation, are concerned with issues of life, not the fact of their own dying. “They wanted honesty, closure, and peace,” she says. “How a patient died depended on how he lived”—a sentiment with which the poet concurred.

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