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The Bookfish

Vox piscis: or, The book-fish contayning three treatises which were found in the belly of a cod-fish in Cambridge Market, on Midsummer Eue last, anno Domini 1626.

Vox piscis: or, The book-fish contayning three treatises which were found in the belly of a cod-fish in Cambridge Market, on Midsummer Eue last, anno Domini 1626.

My blog has gone through a few names and iterations. Its last title is The Bookfish, adapted from the 17c book, Vox Piscis (1627). I included the image in the Folger show “Lost at Sea” in 2010 and discussed it in an MLA paper in early 2011 and in Shipwreck Modernity in 2015.

The image represents my underwater emblem for oceanic writing:

The book’s preface names it “a living dumbe Speaking Library in the sea” (Vox Piscis, 17), calling out to England “like another Jonas…out of the belly of the Fish” (34).  This ocean-text captures the alluring fantasy of a truly maritime literary culture.  Perhaps we don’t want to write from fish’s bellies, or even pretend to do so.  But real wisdom emerges from human encounters with the slimy deeps, if we are willing to go down there after it.

The blog was also at one time called “Blue Humanities Blog” and it’s still a blue humanities watery sort of place.

Thanks to the Folger for allowing me to use their image as my blog-emblem!