1st Edition

An Introduction to the Blue Humanities

By Steve Mentz Copyright 2024
    184 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    184 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    An Introduction to the Blue Humanities is the first textbook to explore the many ways humans engage with water, utilizing literary, cultural, historical, and theoretical connections and ecologies to introduce students to the history and theory of water-centric thinking. Comprised of multinational texts and materials, each chapter will provide readers with a range of primary and secondary sources, offering a fresh look at the major oceanic regions, saltwater and freshwater geographies, and the physical properties of water that characterize the Blue Humanities. Each chapter engages with carefully chosen primary texts, including frequently taught works such as Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” Homer’s Odyssey, and Luis Vaz de Camões’s Lusíads, to provide the perfect pedagogy for students to develop an understanding of the Blue Humanities chapter by chapter. Readers will gain insight into new trends in intellectual culture and the enduring history of humans thinking with and about water, ranging across the many coastlines of the World Ocean to Pacific clouds, Mediterranean lakes, Caribbean swamps, Arctic glaciers, Southern Ocean rainstorms, Atlantic groundwater, and Indian Ocean rivers. Providing new avenues for future thinking and investigation of the Blue Humanities, this volume will be ideal for both undergraduate and graduate courses engaging with the environmental humanities and oceanic literature.

    Preface Bodies of Water

    1 A Poetics of Planetary Water

    2 Blue Humanities Thinking

    3 The Vast Pacific

    4 The Roaring South

    5 The Connected Ocean

    6 Surrounded by Land

    7 In the Caribbean

    8 Northern Lights

    9 The Tornadoed Atlantic

    10 Conclusion: Touching Moisture

    11 Works Cited

    12 Essential Reading in the Blue Humanities


    Steve Mentz is Professor of English at St. John’s University in New York City. His academic expertise includes environmental criticism, the blue humanities, Shakespeare studies, early modern European poetry, and critical theory. He has published five single-author books, including most recently Ocean (2020), Break Up the Anthropocene (2019), and Shipwreck Modernity (2015). He has edited or co-edited six other volumes, published many chapters and articles in scholarly journals and collections, and organized exhibitions and symposia on blue humanities topics. His research has been funded by the Rachel Carson Center in Munich, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the John Carter Brown Library, the National Maritime Museum in London, and other institutions. He received his Ph.D. in English from Yale University in 2000.