Romanticism: Fact or Fiction Essay

Romanticism: Fact or Fiction Essay

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Tucked away in history lies the world of piracy, too far to be fully reached, comprehended or related to. They are distance stories containing horrific facts and impossible realities. It is no secret that piracy has found a home in Western pop culture; the romance of mystery and drama seems to follow any pirate image. Historically speaking some scholars have rejected this romantic view yet, for every academic voice there exists a Jack Sparrow or Long John Silver. Conflict surrounds the truth of piracy as Historians continue to see piracy in light of historical contexts while social culture relies on the dramatized romantic view. Because of this, only when these studies and stories are brought together a new insight develops. By analyzing texts, such as the primary source The Buccaneers of America by Exquemelin, historian Marcus Rediker’s Villains of All Nations and the famous Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, romance and piracy are brought together and surprisingly developed by historians and fiction-writers alike.
Treasure Island is one of the first texts to exposure modern culture to the cinematic world of piracy. This text, bursting with heroic themes and tantalizing twists and turns, stands as a striking example of romance in the pirate world. As the reader flips through the pages they come across a short section entitled “To the Hesitating Purchaser”, it is under this heading the author describes Treasure Island as “all the old romance, retold exactly in ancient way” . This text is an epic story of treasure, mystery, death and good victorious. The plot itself centers on the narrator Jim Hawkins, a boy who leaves his mother behind to find a buried treasure, the existence of which is found through mysteriou...

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...ed when compared with Exquemelin’s firsthand account. Rediker a scholar uses pirates as a symbol for a revolutionary cause not yet born into history; his own romantic take. It is through these different views romance of piracy is defined, protected and used to push the study of history further. Perhaps pirates will always remain to academia and the social world as symbols to represent the possibility of life and the freedom desired by all. Because of this, pirates will remain romantic figures beloved by all for many decades to come.


Exquemelin, Alexander O. The Buccaneers of America. Translated by Alexis Brown. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, INC., 1969.

Rediker, Marcus. Villains of All Nations: Atlantic Pirates in the Golden Age. Boston: Beacon Press, 2004.

Stevenson, Robert L. Treasure Island. New York City: Signet Classics, 1965.

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