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By Edward Rothstein
We know well the hazards latent in the sea. For months, we have watched millions of barrels of oil erupting from the ocean floor, just after its explosive force claimed the lives of 11 workers who toiled on precarious platforms perched above the waves. We have also, in recent years, watched waters engulf the shores and dwellings of New Orleans, wreaking havoc as in ancient tales.
But it is doubtful that we take the ocean really seriously — as seriously, that is, as the people who wrote the books and pamphlets, drew the maps and learned the ropes and knots on display in an exhibition at the Folger Shakespeare Library here did.