Eugene Batchelder - One of the maddest books ever. A sea-serpent wrecks a ship, eats the passengers and some passing whales, gives the commencement address at Harvard, and then shocks society at a high-class ball

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Eugene Batchelder, A Romance Of The Sea-serpent, Or, The Ichthyosaurus, 1850.                    


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Maddest book I ever read. A sea-serpent wrecks a ship, eats the passengers and some passing whales, gives the commencement address at Harvard, and then shocks society at a high-class ball. Partially in verse. Published 1850. - Caustic Cover Critic


'The largest monster in antebellum literature was the kraken depicted in Eugene Batchelder's Romance of the Sea-Serpent, or The Ichthyosaurus, a bizarre narrative poem about a sea serpent that terrorizes the coast of Massachusetts, destroys a huge ship in mid-ocean, repasts on human remains gruesomely with sharks and whales, attends a Harvard commencement (where he has been asked to speak), [and] shocks partygoers by appearing at a Newport ball...'' David S. Reynolds

Excerpt:
.. THE THIRTY-SECOND FABLE OF THE TWILIGHT OF THE GODS. From the Ancient Icelandic, or Runic, Mythology, nearly as long ago as the time of Isaiah. Gangler then inquired, " What can you tell me concerning that day? " Har replied: " There are very many and very notable circumstances which I can impart to you. In the first place will come the grand, the ' desolating' Winter, during which the snow will fall from the four corners of the world; the frost will be very severe; the tempest violent and dangerous; and the sun will withdraw his beams. Three such winters shall pass away, without being softened by one summer Then will happen such things as may well be called prodigies. The wolf Fenris will devour the sun; a severe loss will it be found by mankind. Another monster will carry off the moon, and render her totally useless; the stars shall fly away and vanish from fhe heavens; the earth and the mountains shall be seen violently agitated; the trees torn up from the earth by the roots; the tottering hills to tumble headlong from their foundations; all the chains and irons of the prisons to be broken and dashed in pieces. Then is the wolf Fenris let loose; the sea rushes impetuous ANCIENT ICELANDIC FABLE. 131 ly over the earth, because the Great Serpent, changed into a spectre, gains the shore. The ship Nagelfara is set afloat.: this vessel is constructed of the nails of dead men; for which reason great care should be taken not to die with unpared nails; for he who dies so, supplies materials towards the building of that vessel, which Gods and men will wish were finished as late as possible. The giant Rymer is the pilot of this vessel, which the sea, breaking over its banks, wafts along with it. The wolf Fenris, advancing, opens his enormous mouth; his lower jaw reaches...



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