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Horatio Hornblower Series

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Horatio Hornblower Series - Page 3 Empty Re: Horatio Hornblower Series

Post by 80 Winters Mon 06 Feb 2017, 17:44

Now that almost 3 years has passed since my 5th reading of the Hornblower saga..........it's time to revisit once again.

Last night, I began Midshipman Hornblower on audiobook and for a wonderful hour, I revisited the well crafted genesis of a naval career that will bring me many hours of reading enjoyment from an author who could play true human emotions against real-to-life events and do it so believably.  As a 'weaver-of-tales' C.S. Forester turns cotton into silk.
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Post by 80 Winters Thu 02 Mar 2017, 17:23

It came to me yesterday as I was beginning The Happy Return (aka Beat to Quarters) how "abruptly" it began.

1. Almost nothing about the adventures that preceded it.
2. Nothing about his relationship with Bush.
3. Nothing about the loss of his 2 children.

While 'a great story' (and the one that launched the epic series) it might have been 'enriched' by the knowledge of what 'went before'.

Had it only been written in 'chronological order'.
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Post by 80 Winters Tue 07 Mar 2017, 05:23

Having finished The Happy Return today (6th reading in many years), I did a critical review, in my mind, of this "1st book" in Forester's classic series.

My thoughts (perceptions) are that Forester's 'style' was somewhat more 'abrupt' (or maybe it was just his portrayal of Hornblower and his actions) here, than in the  'retrospective novels' he wrote in later years.

Also, I'm reminded that the 'storyline' of the novel put greater weight on some events (the fight with Natividad) while totally omitting others that were key to the 1952 Captain Hornblower movie (Lady Barbara's bout with 'the fever').

And I see that 'the loss of his children came almost as an 'after thought'.
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Post by 80 Winters Sat 11 Mar 2017, 04:43

Reading A Ship of the Line (actually, listening to it on audiobook) and becoming more aware of 'the shoals' awaiting you when you read a series that was written 'out of chronological order'.

One of the most evident 'shoals' is Forester's words on the relationship between Hornblower and Bush. In fact, today I heard Forester intimate that Hornblower had only known Bush for '3 years'.
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Post by 80 Winters Tue 21 Mar 2017, 03:12

A little help please:

Re-reading Hornblower and the Crisis and the mission offered to Hornblower by Marston to infiltrate a bogus message to Villeneuve to get him to depart Ferrol and sail out to meet the British navy. While this 'mission' is laid out in the book, we're told nothing more as this is a 'short story'.
I know that in one of the major series that I've read, the same 'mission' is described in detail. I'm thinking that it was in Woodman's  Nathaniel Drinkwater series. If not, from what series did it come?
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Post by Astrodene Tue 21 Mar 2017, 12:53

I don't recall any other author using interception of that courier in that way, however Pope has his charcter intercepting a messenger to the channel ports with most of the book set in France in Ramage and the Guillotine which you might be thinking of.

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Post by 80 Winters Tue 21 Mar 2017, 16:55

I remember only a bit about 'the episode' as the protagonist 'distracted' the young courier with an invitation to dinner/drink while the protagonist's cohort slipped into the courier's room and placed the bogus letter into the mail pouch. It may well have been Ramage, I'll peruse Ramage and the Guillotine when I finish this reading of Hornblower.

Added:
So far my 'search' has only turned up the episode alluded to by Astrodene in Ramage and the Guillotine and having 're-read' it, this is most likely what was in my memory. However, the original 'plot' from Hornblower would certainly lend itself to a short story.
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Post by 80 Winters Mon 03 Apr 2017, 18:21

Now that I've finished my 6th reading of the Hornblower series, I can only reflect that each reading has been measured against the strength and quality of other HNF I'd read during the interim.

My conclusion is that, while lacking some of the 'spark and innovation' I've noted in the plots of a few 'classic HNF' authors that followed, C.S.Forester produced 'the standard' upon which these later added.

I still enjoy it and will return to it again in a few years.
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Post by NewGolconda Thu 18 May 2017, 09:35

I thought the TV series was a quite good adaption of the MrMidshipman Hornblower tales given the differences in the mediums. That book itself is more of a boys own adventure series of short stories than anything else in the cannon. I dont think the approach or cast would have translated well for the other books.

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Post by Chromedust Sat 10 Jun 2017, 11:11

80 Winters wrote:It came to me yesterday as I was beginning The Happy Return (aka Beat to Quarters) how "abruptly" it began.

1. Almost nothing about the adventures that preceded it.
2. Nothing about his relationship with Bush.
3. Nothing about the loss of his 2 children.

While 'a great story' (and the one that launched the epic series) it might have been 'enriched' by the knowledge of what 'went before'.

Had it only been written in 'chronological order'.

I always was under the impression that some time passed between the Atropos adventure and when he was sent around Cape Horn in the Lydia.

What I found most annoying is that in The Happy Return Hornblower's relationship to Bush is described in a way that makes me think he only just met him when he got the Lydia when they had a long established professional and personal relationship through previous sea time together.

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Post by 80 Winters Tue 30 Oct 2018, 00:38

A recent article by a C.S. Forester society member (Ken Napier)  on the genesis of Hornblower and the Hotspur:


https://csforester.wordpress.com/about/publications/reflections-online/csf-writing-hornblower-and-the-hotspur/
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