Jones, William Books
About the author: After graduating in English, William Jones followed a career in university adult education, and is now Professor of Lifelong Learning at Newcastle University. His research is in the fields both of education and literature, which he combines with his long-standing interest in maritime history to pursue studies of nautical writing, especially poetry..2003 0-7734-6766-1
This is the first ever scholarly edition of Falconer’s poetry. After an account of Falconer’s life and reputation, this study concentrates on Falconer’s masterwork, The Shipwreck, an autobiographical narrative of a disastrous shipwreck in 1749, of which Falconer was one of three survivors. The poem is unique in its autobiographical/narrative/didactic/epic character. The poem survives in three distinct and much modified versions. The parallel text format of this edition facilitates line by line comparison of the editions and presents the progress of Falconer’s self-taught development as a poet, and how he adapts to fashionable taste of the time. The Shipwreck is of interest to scholars of other disciplines. Its explicit intention of being an improving work for seafarers links it closely with Falconer’s other major publication The Dictionary of the Marine which became the standard work. The Shipwreck’s many detailed accounts of sailing ship handling and navigation in the mid-18th century make it a valuable source for maritime historians. The study also examines some of Falconer’s other minor poetry.