Thursday, September 19, 2013

Read Like a Pirate of "Exquisite Mind"

"Those who could, read. The literacy rate among sailors was high—more than 70 percent.* Some read worthy books like the Greek Bible [...] the majority probably preferred something lighter such as 'the obscene verses'..."
The Pirate of Exquisite Mind, p. 140
Diana and Michael Preston.

2004 Walker & Company (ISBN13: 9780802714251)
Check WorldCat or your local library.
"*This means that almost three out of four sailor could sign their name rather than simply make their mark—the only consistent distinction on which academics can agree between literacy and illiteracy for this period.... The relatively high level among sailors reflected partly the intelligence of those sufficiently curious to want to see the world and partly the requirement to read charts."

That is an excellent qualification for being a reader: 

Sufficient curiosity. 

Factoid: William Dampier, the buccaneer subject of this book, was himself the victim of piracy. He was a celebrated author—so his works were very attractive to imitators, anthologizers, and others. Writing wasn't really a path to riches—neither was piracy. But both are good occupations for the curious. 
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