Reading cultures thrived aboard ships

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)

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