Continent, Interrupted: Insularity and Adjacency in William Daniell’s Voyage Round Great Britain
Avainsanat:maritime history, maritime art, Britain, coastal history
Philip Allott has written: “Britain’s oddness is Britain’s oldest tradition.” Britain’s status as an island has often been equated with the oddness, or deployed to explain it, as if that were an unproblematic truism. In his essay “Insular Outsider,” the historian Keith Robbins remarked that “insularity is such a fundamental determinant of British history that it is surprising how little attention historians have paid to it. In century after century, we can find expressions of pride in the mere fact of belonging to a ‘sea-girt’ country.” The now uncommon English word “girt,” meaning surrounded or enclosed by, is closely related to the word “gird,” a verb associated with gripping, supporting, or fastening, and “girth,” a noun referring to the circumference of an object. All of these words connote stoutness, heft, or strength; it is not surprising that a “girder” refers to a supporting beam, made of wood or metal, sturdy enough to hold up a building.