Peter Moore

‘Great South Land of the Holy Spirit’

The Savage Shore: Extraordinary Stories of Survival and Tragedy from the Early Voyages of Discovery

By Graham Seal

Yale University Press 298pp £20 order from our bookshop

In August 1699, the English adventurer William Dampier and the crew of HMS Roebuck, a twenty-six-gun warship, sailed into an uncharted bay on the far side of the world. It was Dampier’s second visit to this land, which he knew loosely as New Holland. Determined to document some of the flora, he spent about a week in the bay. His party caught turtles, rays and sharks, one of which, Dampier noted, was ‘11-foot long’. Cutting open the shark’s throat, Dampier was startled to find inside it ‘the head and bones of a hippopotamus; the hairy lips of which were still sound’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Andrew Irwin examines the language and structure of Reservoir 13, a 'portrait of a whole village' by Jon McGregor ,
    • David Jacques's Garden of Court and Country: English Design 1630-1730, reviewed by Tim Richardson ,
    • Lucy Popescu () appeals on the behalf of Rashad Ramazanov, a writer and blogger imprisoned in Azerbaijan ,
    • ''the icon of restlessness for a world that never seems able to settle.'' How Hamlet went on tour ,
    • . is upon us. Look out for free copies of Literary Review for festival attendees.,
    • 'If there is a god, nature is the breath of it and art ... is its messenger.' Jan Morris contemplates Wordsworth ,
    • Weekend read 2: Take inspiration from Jonathan Meades's 'anti'-recipes and 'serve up a treat' this Sunday ,