May 22, 2023•90 words
Scholars have discovered an extraordinarily high literacy rate among sailors: from seventy-five to ninety percent. Reading cultures thrived aboard ships. Maritime narratives since at least William Dampier's A New Voyage Around the World (1697) regularly included natural history descriptions into every kind of adventure at sea, which reflected and primed sailor-readers toward marine observation.
—from Ahab's Rolling Sea: A Natural History of “Moby-Dick” by Richard J. King (read it)