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The Phantom Ship
The Phantom Ship - 1847 frontispiece.jpeg
Frontispiece to the 1847 edition
Author Frederick Marryat
Language English
Genre Gothic novel
Publisher E.L. Carey & A. Hart
Publication date
May 1839
OCLC 1711835
Text The Phantom Ship at Wikisource

The Phantom Ship (1839) is a Gothic novel by Frederick Marryat which explores the legend of the Flying Dutchman.

Plot introduction

The plot concerns the quest of Philip Vanderdecken of Terneuzen in the Netherlands to save his father - who has been doomed to sail for eternity as the Captain of the Bewitched Phantom Ship, after he made a rash oath to heaven and slew one of the crew whilst attempting to sail round the Cape of Good Hope. Vanderdecken learns upon his mother's death that there exists a way by which his father's disturbed spirit may be laid to rest, and vows to live at sea until he has spoken with his father face to face and accomplished this purpose.

Vanderdecken sails around the world in a number of ships, in the employ of the Dutch East India Company, so that he can redeem his father by presenting him with the relic of the Holy Cross he wears round his neck. His quest, however, brings him into conflict with earthly and unearthly powers as the sight of the Flying Dutchman brings doom to all who encounter her.


The novel was originally serialised in The New Monthly Magazine beginning in March 1837 and ending in August 1839.

One chapter concerning a werewolf has often been excerpted in anthologies of supernatural fiction as The White Wolf of the Hartz Mountains.

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