Serio-Comic Journal of a Cruize, 1847-1848: annotated edition with introduction and commentary on sea journals
Atabay, Turhan Alp
When he began his journal seaman Hugh Calhoun had high hopes for the outward-bound voyage ahead of him. Ship-of-the-Line Ohio was back from the Siege of Veracruz, being prepared for her next mission, and the War was at its height. The cruize, as he called it, did not turn out as eventful as he expected it to be and yet he was nevertheless able to produce a book which bountifully embodies a short but fruitful chapter of maritime literary history. Serio-Comic Journal of a Cruize, On Board of the U. S. Ship Ohio, Commencing from New York June 23d 1847, with its full name, is a shipboard diary kept by an ordinary seaman during the Mexican-American War. The 148-page manuscript volume, located at the archives of the Massachusetts Historical Society in Boston, is a product of the maturity phase of American sea writing as Calhoun, self-consciously a Jack Tar and an American, was representing a trained, well-read and well-influenced generation of sailor-authors who lived and recorded the final years of America under sail. The past three decades have seen a progressive conceptual expansion of the themes involving the ways in which literate sailors viewed the world they lived in. Scholars of early American literature, maritime history and culture have explored the meanings and information provided in the textual products of seamen. Upon comparison with similar material found at the archives of maritime museums and historical societies, and discussions with leading maritime historians, Serio-Comic Journal proved to be a meaningful source text which, through scholarly treatment, can benefit research in multiple disciplines due to the significance of its production date and the diversity of the topics and literary forms found in it. This edition aims to provide related fields of study with a historically contextualized shipboard document in the light of these latest findings. The transcription of the complete text is presented with glossarial, historiographical and geographical notes, whereas the introductory chapters discuss several key subjects to form a framework for the better evaluation of not only the source text of the edition but the sea journal genre as a whole.