Gothic Ocean in S. T. Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

  • Ljubica Matek Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Osijek
Palavras-chave: S. T. Coleridge, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, Gothic, Ocean, Tourism


Colonial travel gave a decisive rise both to the proliferation of travel stories and the desire for tourist travel as colonizers and merchants brought stories of new, exciting, but also dangerous worlds. It is this latter, unsettling aspect of travel and tourism that the paper is interested in. Taking into consideration the liquid, unfixable nature of the oceanic setting, the paper will focus on S. T. Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner (1798) to argue that the ocean represents a Gothic space. Due to its constantly changing nature, which unsettles the boundaries between the material and the psychological, real and imagined, the visible and the hidden, the sea literally and symbolically disorients the protagonist and pushes him toward the realm of the supernatural. The trials of maritime travel depicted as a form of (involuntary) Gothic tourism represent the ordeals of questioning dominant perspectives, of acknowledging the unthinkable, and therefore the transgressive. The ocean becomes a nexus of both the forces of life and death which changes the Ancient Mariner’s view of both the world/nature and the humankind; it is also a liminal space where the Mariner is awarded knowledge of the previously unknown. However, this realization is not liberating, but represented as a curse. In relying on the theory of the Gothic, Gothic tourism, and the current perspectives on the maritime environment, the paper will show that Coleridge’s Romantic poem offers a Gothic, transcendent, and unsettling view of both the ocean – as a natural and touristic space – and the human nature.

Como Citar
Matek, L. (2023). Gothic Ocean in S. T. Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. LIT&TOUR – International Journal of Literature and Tourism Research (IJLTR), (Special Is), 38-46. Obtido de
Artigo recebido em 2022-05-23
Artigo aceite em 2023-01-18
Artigo publicado em 2023-01-18