Troubador Premonitions of the Titanic Disaster

Released: 28/03/2021

ISBN: 9781800462342

Format: Paperback

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Premonitions of the Titanic Disaster


Passengers cancelling their tickets for Titanic’s maiden voyage out of apprehension; a famous social reformer who died on Titanic, warned in 1911 that he would be in danger from water in April 1912; inhabitants  of the remote islands of Fiji aware of the sinking before reports of the collision reached the Pacific; a dying girl who, on 14 April 1912, ‘sees’ a big ship sinking in the water and mysteriously knows the name of the violinist in Titanic’s orchestra.  These are just a few of the numerous claims to psychic foreknowledge of the ship's sinking.

Within days of the widely-publicised disaster of 1912, stories began circulating of extraordinary omens and individuals who supposedly had supernatural premonitions of the disaster. Furthermore, four fictional works – one dating as far back as twenty-six years – came to be seen as anticipating the disaster.  

Between 1960 and 2006, five major commentators published extended analyses of the alleged premonitions, none of which is now easily accessible to an English readership. This book examines them all in detail. The whole treatment of the matter opens up fascinating questions concerning the paranormal, but also raises and leaves unresolved crucial issues specific to premonitions and how they can be legitimately examined. 

Readers are left to make their own judgement on Titanic premonitions.

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Terry Keefe

Professor Terry Keefe was born in Birmingham in 1940. His father, Wilfrid, was a die turner, and his mother, Laura, a laquerer. He won a place at King Edwards Grammar School, Five Ways in Birmingham in 1951, working his way up the streamed intake and being awarded a Foundation Scholarship in 1956. He read French at Leicester University, 1958-62 (spending the third year as an assistant teacher of English in France), being part of the first group of students to be awarded degrees by Leicester itself after following a full course there. At the time only some 5% of his generation attended university. In 1962 he married Sheila Parkin, a fellow student of French from Norfolk. In 1962-63 he followed the Educational Diploma course at Leicester, gaining a Credit in Teaching Practice and a Distinction in Educational Theory. He then taught French and English at Lincoln Grammar School for two years, while studying philosophy as an External Student with London University, graduating in 1966, after three years part-time study. He was appointed to a Tutorial Assistantship in French at Leicester Universityin 1965, and in 1968 was awarded an M.A. in French, with Distinction, having written a dissertation on 'Descartes' morale and the Autonomy of Ethics'. He became an Assistant Lecturer in French at Leicester in 1967 and a Lecturer in 1968. His son, Simon Patrick was born at the end of 1968, and his daughter, Rosanna Jancis, in 1971. He began publishing articles on French literature and philosophy in 1972 and his first book, "Simone de Beauvoir", came out with Harrap in 1983. He was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 1982 and his second book, "French Existentialist Fiction. Changing Moral Perspectives", appeared with Croom Helm in 1986. He was Head of the French Department at Leicester from 1983 and was elected Dean of the Faculty of Arts in 1985. In 1988 he accepted a Chair at Lancaster University, becoming only the second externally-appointed Professor of French there. He was Head of Modern Languages for a six-year spell, during which he added Spanish, Chinese, Japanese and a Language Centre to the Department's range. He co-edited a volume on "Zola and the Craft of Fiction" in 1990 (contributing two pieces) in 1990, and another on "Autobiography and the Existential Self" in 1995. He also published two further books: "Simone de Beauvoir: Les Belles Images and La Femme Rompue" (1991) and "Simone de Beauvoir" (in the Fontana 'Modern Novelists' series, in 1998. He took early retirement in 1998 and moved to an estuary village in South Cumbria, where he became heavily involved in local affairs, serving as a Parish Councillor for eleven years and being on the management committees (sometimes as Chairman) of several village bodies. He published the first English translation of a Simone de Beauvoir novella, 'Misunderstanding in Moscow', continued teaching adults (having been involved in adult education since living in Lincoln), edited the Landscape Trust's journal, "Keer to Kent" for seven years, and produced two local books: "One Hundred Years of Golf in Silverdale" and "The Arnside and Silverdale Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty". He also developed and expanded a long-standing interest in mystery novels, delivering a series of lectures on 'From the Detective Story to the Modern Thriller'. Since 2009 he has given talks on cruise liners on this topic, as well as extending his range into Sea Mysteries, especially the Titanic disaster. He moved with his wife to Sheffield in 2015, to be near his four grandchildren and his son and daughter, both of whom are professors at Sheffield University. For some years he continued to lecture on board cruise ships, as well as to local groups, and in Sheffield he completed his book on "Premonitions of the Titanic Disaster", published by Matador.

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