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Friday, October 12, 2007

Flying Dutchman

The Flying Dutchman by Albert Pinkham Ryder.
It's that time of year when a young-at-heart librarian's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of phantom ships! I love this time of year--here we are planning costumes (which we get to wear at work) and on Halloween our neighbors will all be out either trick-or-treating or handing out treats.

So I decided to learn more about that famous phantom, the Flying Dutchman. I looked him up in printed resources I had handy--in the Facts on File Encyclopedia of World Mythology and Legend, in The Reader's Encyclopedia by William Rose Benet, and in The Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea. Although the entry in the Oxford Companion wasn't the longest, I found I liked it the best. It included an example of the legend, was written engagingly, gave references to literary & musical versions, and was the only one that mentioned the Viking Stöte.

I also checked various online sources, and the best really was Wikipedia's entry, although I was disappointed in Wikipedia's links. The Wikipedia article, itself, is nicely cited and the assertions substantiated, but the external links make vast claims as to sources of the legends mostly without any support whatsoever.

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