"My ship is my treasure
Freedom is my God
Strength and wind my
My only homeland, the sea." Jose de Espronceda, "Song of the
Pirate." All translations, unless otherwise noted, are by the author.
1. Recent studies have focused on tracing the ways in which fact and fiction
have merged to create the popular images of pirates: David Cordingly,
Life among the Pirates: The Romance and the Reality (London: Little, Brown
and Company, 1995); Jan Rogozinski, Pirates! Brigands, Buccaneers, and
Privateers in Fact and Fiction, and Legend (New York: Da Capo Press, 1996).
In fact, there has been a resurgence of piracy on a global scale along the
west coast of Africa, the northern coast of South America, as well as in
the eastern Mediterranean, the Persian Gulf, and the South China Sea.
In 1977 a warning was issued to Caribbean-bound vessels to beware of
piracy and hijacking, especially in the Bahamas. See Jenifer Marx, Pirates
and Privateers of the Caribbean (Malabar, Fla.: Krieger Publishing, 1992),
284-291. According to the International Maritime Bureau
profit organization outside London, which monitors piracy worldwide,
the number of attacks almost doubled in 1995 from the previous year,
increasing from 92 to 170. For recent data on contemporary forms of
piracy see William Sisson, "Blackbeard with an Automatic Rifle," Sound-
ings, April 1996, 58-62.
3. Focusing on the gauchesca, Josefina Ludmer offers a brilliant analysis of
the limits and modes of construction of a literary genre (El genero gau-
chesco: Un tratado sobre la patria [Buenos Aires: Sudamericana, 19881, esp.
4. Lord Byron, "The Corsair," in The Poetical Works of Lord Byron (London:
Oxford University Press, 1960),277-302.
5. Jose de Espronceda, "Canci6n del pirata," in Obras Poeticas: "El Pelayo,"
poesias liricas, "El estudiante de Salamanca," "El diablo mundo" (Mexico City:
Editorial Porrua, 1972), 24-25. Unless otherwise noted, all translations
are by the author.
6. Michel de Certeau, The Writing of History, trans. Tom Conley (New York:
Columbia University Press, 1988).