In The Fabled Coast, renowned folklorists Sophia Kingshill and Jennifer Westwood gather together the most enthralling tales and traditions, tracing their origins and examining the facts behind the legends. Was there ever such a beast as the monstrous Kraken? Did a Welsh prince discover America, centuries before Columbus? What happened to the missing crew of the Mary Celeste? Along the way, they recount the stories that are an integral part of our coastal heritage, such as the tale of Drake’s Drum, said to be heard when England was in peril, and the mythical island of Hy Brazil, which for centuries appeared on sea charts and maps to the west of Ireland. The result is an endlessly fascinating, often surprising journey through our island history.
SOPHIA KINGSHILL is the author of a previous book with Jennifer Westwood, The Lore of Scotland, which was published by Random House in 2009. She also writes for the theatre, and her plays have been performed in Scotland, England, and Norway.
JENNIFER WESTWOOD was born in 1940 and studied English Language at Oxford, followed by Medieval Icelandic at Cambridge. A long-time member of the Folklore Society, she served as editor of FLS Books and also the journal Folklore. Her books include Albion: A Guide to Legendary Britain (1985), Gothick Cornwall (1992), Lost Atlantis (1997), On Pilgrimage (2003), The Lore of the Land (2005, with Jacqueline Simpson), and The Lore of Scotland (2009, with Sophia Kingshill). When she died in 2008, she left a wealth of material for her most cherished project, a collection of British sea and coastal legend, which is embodied in this book.
Exploring everything from local superstitions and ghost stories to annual customs, this is an enchanting guide to the ancient legends and deep-rooted beliefs that can be found the length and breadth of the city.
More than simply retelling these stories, The Lore of Scotland explores their origins, showing how and when they arose and investigating what basis - if any - they have in historical fact. In the process, it uncovers the events that inspired Shakespeare's Macbeth, probes the claim that Mary King's Close is the most haunted street in Edinburgh, and examines the surprising truth behind the fame of the MacCrimmons, Skye's unsurpassed bagpipers. Moreover, it reveals how generations of Picts, Vikings, Celtic saints and Presbyterian reformers shaped the myriad tales that still circulate, and, from across the country, it gathers together legends of such renowned figures as Sir William Wallace, St Columba, and the great warrior Fingal. The result is a thrilling journey through Scotland's legendary past and an endlessly fascinating account of the traditions and beliefs that play such an important role in its heritage.
In this “cri de coeur about the Gulf’s environmental ruin” (New York Times), “Davis has written a beautiful homage to a neglected sea” (front page, New York Times Book Review).Hailed as a “nonfiction epic . . . in the tradition of Jared Diamond’s best-seller Collapse, and Simon Winchester’s Atlantic” (Dallas Morning News), Jack E. Davis’s The Gulf is “by turns informative, lyrical, inspiring and chilling for anyone who cares about the future of ‘America’s Sea’ ” (Wall Street Journal). Illuminating America’s political and economic relationship with the environment from the age of the conquistadors to the present, Davis demonstrates how the Gulf’s fruitful ecosystems and exceptional beauty empowered a growing nation. Filled with vivid, untold stories from the sportfish that launched Gulfside vacationing to Hollywood’s role in the country’s first offshore oil wells, this “vast and welltold story shows how we made the Gulf . . . [into] a ‘national sacrifice zone’ ” (Bill McKibben). The first and only study of its kind, The Gulf offers “a unique and illuminating history of the American Southern coast and sea as it should be written” (Edward O. Wilson).