Piratical counterfactual, piratical counterfictional
From Misson to melodrama
in Counterfactual Romanticism
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This chapter conceptualises the layered forms in which the figure of the pirate was entailed to the Romantic-period stage and novel, offering a case study in the multi-genre energies of counterfactual speculation and ‘counterfictional’ experimentation within the genre of pirate histories. The chapter reveals the process of adaptation and speculation-driven laminations of fact, fiction, counter-fact and counter-fiction that underlie the colourful – and genuinely historically and politically inquiring – ur-pirate history, A General History of the Robberies and Murders of the Most Notorious Pyrates (1724–28), whose thought experiments explore (but ultimately contain and neutralise) a series of radical possibilities.

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