When Jennifer Lucy Allan hears the foghorn’s colossal bellow for the first time, it marks the beginning of an obsession and a journey deep into the history of sound that has carved out the identity and the landscape of coastlines around the world, from Scotland to San Francisco. Within its sound is a maritime history of shipwrecks and lighthouse keepers, the story and science of our industrial past, and urban myths relaying tales of foghorns in speaker stacks, blasting out for coastal raves. An odyssey told through the people who battled the sea and the sound, who lived with it and loathed it, and one woman’s intrepid voyage through the howling loneliness of nature.
“The foghorn has a history that is as intangible and real as the stories we tell.”
Jennifer Lucy Allan “The Foghorn’s Lament: The Disappearing Music of the Coast”. First published in 2021. This paperback edition was published by White Rabbit in 2022. Donated by Leah Zakss from Guildford, UK, who visited the Sea Library in person and we talked about music, art, books and the sea ❤️
Photos by Anna Iltnere / Sea Library