Literary detection Ancient Mariner-Fletcher Christian?Wordsworth Coleridge
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C. S. Wilkinson

£35.00 + Postage

This 1st. edition published 1953
by Cassell and Co. Ltd, London

A blue cloth bound book with gilt lettering to the spine, which is slightly bumped top and bottom, in VERY GOOD condition. Dust wrapper a little grubby, price clipped, nicked and worn but generally sound: GOOD PLUS condition.
A nice copy of this scarce book with a reasonable dust wrapper.

This 1st. edition published 1953 by Cassell and Co. Ltd, London

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Link to a page of books about Captain William Bligh, H.M.S. Bounty, the ‘Mutiny’ or the mutineers.

Jacket blurb

The Wake of the Bounty

Was Fletcher Christian, the mutineer of Captain Bligh's "Bounty", the model for Coleridge's Ancient Mariner? Did he return to England from Pitcairn Island, did he tell his story to Wordsworth, did Wordsworth pass it on to his friend Coleridge? The Wake of the Bounty is a delightful incursion into literary detection, detection which aims at discovering the answers to these questions. The idea that Fletcher Christian did not die on Pitcairn Island is not entirely new. But the author's investigation into his possible movements after his return, the surprising coincidence of dates and times which connect the writing of The Ancient Mariner and the return of Christian, the relationships which existed between Fletcher Christian and Wordsworth, and Wordsworth and Coleridge, are built into a long chain of proof and argument which suggests that this is the answer to a problem which has baffled many a literary detective.

In order to set the scene and connect the chronology of events the author has told once again the story of the mutiny and its aftermath. He has investigated all the contemporary accounts, the rumours of the time, the lives of Coleridge and Wordsworth during the years following the mutiny, and the letters and writings of the poets' contemporaries. Though much of the correspondence about the mutiny of the "Bounty" is still locked tight in the bosoms of the Christian-Curwen family, Mr. Wilkinson has achieved a remarkably strong case for believing that The Ancient Mariner was, in fact, Fletcher Christian.



This could have occurred nowhere but in England, where men and sea interpenetrate, so to speak—the sea entering the life of most men, and the men knowing something or everything about the sea (CONRAD)
The ring-leaders in the mutiny were two scoundrels, Christian and Young, who had great influence with the crew because they were genteelly connected (BORROW)
I sent him forth Ingenuous, innocent and bold: If things ensued that wanted grace As bath been said, they were not base: And never blush was on my face (WORDSWORTH)
Where lies the land to which yon ship must go? Fresh as a lark mounting at break of day, Festively she puts forth in trim array; Is she for tropic suns or polar snow? (WORDSWORTH)
There were we long neglected, and we bore Much sorrow ere the fleet its anchor weighed; Green fields before us, and our native shore, We breathed a pestilential air, that made Ravage for which no knell was heard, We prayed For our departure: wished and wished—nor knew Mid that long sickness and those hopes delayed, That happier days we never more must view, The parting signal streamed—at last the land withdrew (WORDSWORTH)
What a sight for us bachelor sailors! How avoid so dire a temptation . . . their appearance perfectly amaed me; their extreme youth, the light clear brown of their complexions, their delicate features, and inexpressibly graceful figures, their softly moulded limbs, and free unstudied action, seemed as strange as beautiful (MELVILLE)
If you touch at the islands, Mr. Flask, beware of fornication (MELVILLE)

He that goeth about to perswade a multitude that they are not so well governed as they ought to be shall never want attentive and favourable Hearers (HOOKER)
Away, I say; Go out, and cry a mutiny (SHAKESPEARE)

Bligh was one of the best seamen that ever trod deck, and one of the bravest of men: proofs of his seamanship he gave by steering, amidst dreadful weather, a deeply laden boat for nearly four thousand miles over an almost unknown ocean (BORROW)
Perhaps some dungeon hears thee groan, Maimed, mangled by inhuman men; Or thou upon a desert thrown Inheritest the lion's den; Or hast been summoned to the deep, Thou, thou, and all thy mates, to keep An incommunicable sleep (WORDS WORTH)
The charge is prepared, the lawyers are met, The judges are ranged—a terrible show! (GAY)
If you prove a mutineer—the next tree! (SHAKESPEARE)

I breakfasted with Lysons. He says Captn. Bligh is fully prepared to answer ashes it may come to that issue (JOSEPH FARINGTON)ny reflexions on his conduct which may be published by the friends of Christian, and wi
But as it is! . . . My language fails! Go out and govern New South Wales (BELLOC)
It is curious that it should be so particularly on Wordsworth that popular suspicion fastened, while Coleridge was left comparatively undisturbed. I think the explanation is to be sought for in the far more strongly marked incomprehensibility of Wordsworth's character and position (MRS. SANDFORD)
Justly does it raise our wonder and gratitude to contemplate so exemplary a race, sprung from so guilty a stock (REV. T. B. MURRAY)

It is painful to notice what a tendency there is in men's minds to allow even a slight call of private regard to outweigh a very strong claim of duty to the public (WORDSWORTH)

What song the syrens sang, or what name Achilles assumed when he hid among women, though puNling questions, are not beyond all conjecture (SIR T. BROWNE)
I travelled among unknown men, In lands beyond the sea; Nor, England, did I know till then, What love I bore to thee

' Is there any point to which you wish to draw my attention?' ' To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.' ' The dog did nothing in the night-time.' That was the curious incident' (CONAN DOYLE)
On that occasion, as on many others, he [William Wordsworth] expressed an opinion, that a poet's life is written in his WORKS; and this is undoubtedly true, in a remarkable manner, in his own particular case (CHRISTOPHER WORDSWORTH)
How can ane mind preceesely where they hae been a' the days of their life? (SCOTT)
Our long voyage of discovery is over and our bark has drooped her weary sails in port at last (SIR JAMES FRAZER)

Appendix A The Original Version of the ' Ancient Mariner'
Appendix B Kubla Khan'
Appendix C Mary Russell Mitford's ' Christina, the Maid of the South Seas'
Appendix D Byron' s ' The Island' Appendix E Isaac Wilkinson Appendix F Pitcairn
Appendix G Arms and Simplified Genealogical Table of Christian of Ewanrigg

People mentioned in this Book

List of Illustrations

  • Belle Isle Ewanrigg as it is today
  • Workington Hall
  • Bookplate of Isabella Christian
  • Moorland Close fifty years ago
  • Moorland Close today
  • Traditional birthplace of Fletcher Christian
  • Birthplace of William Wordsworth
  • Plaque on the site of Cockermouth Grammar School commemorating Wordsworth and Christian
  • Footprint said to be Fletcher Christian's
  • William Wordsworth
  • The vicarage at Brigham
  • Washington House, Warton


The course of the Bounty
Christian-Wordsworth associations in the Lake District
Captain Peter Heywood RN, 1773-1831
From the portrait by John Simpson, 1822.

Book's spine

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