THE SEA: TEACHING, LOVE, ART, & MODERNITY

“Such is the service of a fine art and of ships that sail the sea. . . .  History repeats itself, but the special call of an art which has passed away is never reproduced. It is utterly gone out of the world as the song of a destroyed wild bird. Nothing will awaken the same response of  pleasurable emotion or conscientious endeavour. And the sailing of any vessel afloat is an art whose fine form seems already receding from us on its way to the overshadowed Valley of Oblivion. The taking of a modern steamship about the world . . . has not the same quality of intimacy with nature, which, after all, is an indispensable condition to the building up of an art. It is less personal and a more exact calling; less arduous, but also less gratifying in the lack of close communion between the artist and the medium of his art. It is, in short, less a matter of love. . . . It has no great moments of self-confidence, or moments not less great of doubt and heart-searching. . . . It is not an individual, temperamental achievement, but simply the skilled use of an captured force, merely another step forward upon the way of universal conquest.”

—-Joseph Conrad, The Mirror of the Sea: Memories and Impressions

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