If you would like to help keep this site going please

AS THIS IS A FREE FORUM ADVERTS FROM THE SERVICE PROVIDER APPEAR TO THE RIGHT OF THIS NOTICE AND THEY ARE NOT CONNECTED TO THIS SITE.
Services Menu
PURCHASE BOOKS DISCUSSED
If you have heard about a book in this forum and would now like to read it yourself Astrodene has brought together links to purchase them. Links are available for the UK, USA, Canada, Austalia and New Zealand
ASSOCIATED WEB SITE
ARTICLES OF WAR (Forum rules)
FUTURE RELEASES CALENDAR
IMAGES GALLERY
VIDEO CHANNEL
SUBSCRIBE TO NEWSLETTER
Search
 
 

Display results as :
 

 


Rechercher Advanced Search

Latest topics
» Honour Bound
Thu 31 Aug 2017, 08:40 by Alaric Bond

» Persephone
Mon 14 Aug 2017, 05:15 by DasBoot

» BBC Radio: Desolation Island
Sat 12 Aug 2017, 09:09 by Alaric Bond

» A Treacherous Coast
Sat 12 Aug 2017, 05:13 by 80 Winters

» Other Forester Books
Sun 06 Aug 2017, 00:10 by 80 Winters

» Who killed Capt. Sawyer?
Thu 03 Aug 2017, 04:23 by 80 Winters

» Welcome to the David Donachie discussion
Thu 20 Jul 2017, 10:34 by broughstar

» Julian Stockwin discussion
Wed 19 Jul 2017, 10:42 by Chromedust

» C S Forester Society
Tue 04 Jul 2017, 00:39 by 80 Winters

Latest News on the Web Site
Loading...
Use of Cookies
By using this site, you agree we can set and use cookies. For more details of these cookies and how to disable them, see our cookie policy.

Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Tue 26 May 2009, 22:44

Hi there.

Forgive me wading in to a forum where I was unknown until today, but I like the format you have here and would like to add to the discussion.

I first came across Patrick O'Brian's work just after he died, although I had read plenty of CS Forrester before that, and for what it is worth I think O'Brian is an absolute master of historical fiction. His convincing attention to historical detail, his research scholarship into the period and his insightful characterisation all add up to an exceptional author. For me he is the most satisfying author of historical fiction, not just naval but ANY, that I have come across.

I have read some of the other authors mentioned on here elsewhere, but for me many of them cannot match the sheer quality of POB. Some have a good sense of the age of sail, and some also have an expert knowledge of the principles of naval warfare, some can write engagingly, some with insight, some with humour, but O'Brian has it all, for me.

I just wish I had read the series in order rather than at random. I intend to do that in time if I am spared for a few years more.

What do others here like/dislike about the Aubrey/Maturin series? Since I have praised him to the skies, I should try and find a critical word or two. It is difficult for me, since I have come to love his work. If I had to pick an aspect I do not relish I would mention his propensity to kill off beloved characters (won't give examples, in case of spoilers) with a quick sentence. No doubt he aimed to shock by this technique, but I found it hard to handle. And, as has been mentioned on anothrr thread here, Jack Aubrey disguised as a dancing bear was just too much!

Thanks for reading this. Smile
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Astrodene on Tue 26 May 2009, 23:14

I first read a couple of his books when I was much younger and found the way he used language, although correct, hard to get to grips with. That tended to spoil my enjoyment and I did not persevere with the series. I have subsequently read a few more, however they do seem to rely heavily on a continuing thread so reading the odd one here and there is not a good experience. One of these days I'll invest in bying the missing ones and read them in order.

Perhaps then I'll enjoy them a bit more.

_______________________________
David

http://historicnavalfiction.com *** http://www.astrodene.com
avatar
Astrodene
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet

Log Entries : 2860
Age : 65
Location : Essex, England
Joined : 2008-08-21

http://www.historicnavalfiction.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Wed 27 May 2009, 00:16

@Astrodene wrote:I first read a couple of his books when I was much younger and found the way he used language, although correct, hard to get to grips with. That tended to spoil my enjoyment and I did not persevere with the series. I have subsequently read a few more, however they do seem to rely heavily on a continuing thread so reading the odd one here and there is not a good experience. One of these days I'll invest in bying the missing ones and read them in order.

Perhaps then I'll enjoy them a bit more.

Quite understand that. I was reading them as an adult and found them demanding at first. But the language used is authentic (I have done a bit of research into naval archival materials of late, and I had the benefit of some traiing in the language of the period) and once you get used to the differences between today's usage of language and that of the early 1800s there is no looking back.

I remember having a moment in the first one I read (think it was The Surgeon's Mate) when I thought, no- this is too much like hard work. But by then my curiosity was aroused as i sensed the authenticity. So glad I persevered. To be honest I am amazed that POB is so popular, as at first he is not easy to get into.

If you decide to give them a try again start at the start.

Thanks for your response. Cool
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by susan on Wed 27 May 2009, 02:57

One thing that bothers me about POB, is that he has "borrowed" text from naval writers of that time period. I discovered this by accident and was quite disturbed by it.
avatar
susan
Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman

Log Entries : 14
Joined : 2008-10-14

http://www.sailingnavies.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Wed 27 May 2009, 07:28

@susan wrote:One thing that bothers me about POB, is that he has "borrowed" text from naval writers of that time period. I discovered this by accident and was quite disturbed by it.

Interesting. Do you mean borrowed in the sense that he quotes from contemporary writers, or are you saying he was plagiarising?

He acknowledges some sources, but they are mainly first-hand primary sources such as sea captains' logs or letters.

Can you give an example maybe?
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by susan on Wed 27 May 2009, 07:48

Hi Aeneas7c,

I am very interested in Basil Hall (1788–1844), who was a naval officer and a popular author in his time. Here is one sample of POB's work compared to Hall's:

"Muster Clothes at Divisions"

From Treason's Harbour (Chapter 4):

"Mr Calamy," said Captain Aubrey to the young gentleman attached to this division, "tell me what constitutes a well-regulated seaman's kit in high latitudes—a sober, responsible seaman in a King's ship, I mean, not a fly-by-night piss-in-the-corner privateersman that cannot hold his liquour."

"Two blue jackets, sir, one pea jacket, two pair of blue trousers, two pair of shoes, six shirts, four pairs of stockings, two Guernsey frocks, two hats, two black Barcelona handkerchiefs, a comforter, several pair of flannel..." he blushed and in a low voice said "drawers. And two waistcoats; as well as one bed, one pillow, two blankets and two hammocks, sir, if you please."

"And in warm climates?"

"Four duck frocks, sir, four pair of duck trousers, a straw hat, and a canvas one for squalls."

*****

From Hall's Fragments of Voyages and Travels (Series II, Vol. II, Chapter III):

In a well-regulated ship a sailor's kit consists generally of at least two blue jackets, and one pea jacket, which is a sort of lumbering shaggy surtout, or curtailed great-coat... A seaman must also have two pair of blue trousers, two pair of shoes, six shirts, four pair of stockings, two Guernsey frocks, made of a sort of worsted stocking work, without any opening in front; two hats, two black handkerchiefs, and a comforter to wrap round the throat; together with several pair of flannel drawers and waistcoats...

The above forms the kit of a sailor in a ship stationed in high latitudes.

[...]

In warm climates, the stock of a man-of-war sailor consists of four duck frocks, which are more like shirts than anything else...

They must also provide themselves with four pair of duck trousers, a straw hat for fine weather, and a canvass [sic] or beaver one for squalls, though this need not be insisted on.... Each man has, of course, a bed, a pillow, and two blankets; sheets are never heard of. He has also two hammocks, one of which is slung and in use, the other scrubbed, dry, and stowed away, ready to be exchanged for the dirty one.
avatar
susan
Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman

Log Entries : 14
Joined : 2008-10-14

http://www.sailingnavies.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Wed 27 May 2009, 08:09

That is very interesting indeed Susan, thanks for that. I would stop short of calling it plagiarism, but only just: clearly POB is sailing close to the wind there! Wink

I wonder how extensively he does this... I know that he steals a poem which he then attributes to Lieutenant Mowett at one point, but he acknowledges that. I do not recall him acknowledging Hall at any time.
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by susan on Wed 27 May 2009, 08:48

HMS Surprise contains a number of examples running along the same lines. Rearranged enough to avoid the P-word, but still recognizable.
avatar
susan
Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman

Log Entries : 14
Joined : 2008-10-14

http://www.sailingnavies.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Wed 27 May 2009, 10:03

@susan wrote:HMS Surprise contains a number of examples running along the same lines. Rearranged enough to avoid the P-word, but still recognizable.

I'm grateful to you for the information. It seems O'Brian was not averse to making quite fulsome use of other writers.

I read elsewhere that a character in Captain Maryatt's The King's Own called Macallan is a ship's surgeon, a diligent amateur naturalist, is physically clumsy and quite unnautical, and enjoyed a close friendship with his captain. He is clearly the inspiration if not the base for POB's Maturin.

Many writers are inspired to write by other writers of course, and many 'borrow' ideas and suggestions from others. It is how these ideas and materials are used that matters, and I think O'Brian liked his writing to be as authentic as possible, and perhaps at times that tendency took him into dangerous waters.

Sorry, no more nautical metaphors, I promise Embarassed
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Ziggy on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 09:32

I've only read the first book so far but I have a few criticism's to make, although overall I enjoyed the book. Also like to add that I have no problems with reading books from this or earlier time periods.

The structure of his writing often frustrated me. If the narrator is going to tell us before hand of an important event he needs to follow it up promptly, not make me wait for several pages until I lose my enthusiasm to read of the venture.

Some important things were not well enough explained while others were over done. The part where Ellis goes overboard and is "revived" by Maturin comes to mind. It was very hard to tell whether the boy had actually lived and he was not mentioned again for quite some time making it further unclear.

The dialogue between characters was at times quite awful. I'm reminded of a quote from Hornblower, "Why must you speak when you have nothing to say?" In many cases I felt that the dialogue did nothing for either the plot or character development and was completely unnecessary. I hate reading friendly banter and small talk (which is dull enough in real life, let alone in a book) unless there is a particular point to it.

I thought overall the book was a bit too bloated, someone should have been harsher with the red pen. Some over indulgent descriptions and as I said above, unnecessary dialogue.

In his final battle against the frigate... I suppose that probably had some historical basis, but the casualty numbers seemed quite unrealistic to me. What was it... 3 out of 50 for Aubrey and 13 out of 300 for the frogs? I also fail to see how 300 men could remain effectively under guard against two dozen. But if there is some real world equivalent I can cop that, seems slightly unrealistic to me though.

However I still enjoyed the book and will definately be reading the other four I have and hoping that they get progressively better.


Last edited by Ziggy on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 09:39; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : spelling)

Ziggy
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 3
Location : Melbourne
Joined : 2009-09-12

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Astrodene on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 10:44

@Ziggy wrote:In his final battle against the frigate... I suppose that probably had some historical basis, but the casualty numbers seemed quite unrealistic to me. What was it... 3 out of 50 for Aubrey and 13 out of 300 for the frogs? I also fail to see how 300 men could remain effectively under guard against two dozen. But if there is some real world equivalent I can cop that, seems slightly unrealistic to me though.
I'm currently researching the 'Today in History' section of the website and such figures do appear. There are cases of great slaughter and also of hardly any deaths on both sides of a battle, and of very unequal casualty lists. Gunnery was a skill practised by some and not others and differing tactics tended to be employed by different nations with the British firing at the hull (and hence the majority of the crew at the guns), and where deadly splinters were created, whilst the French tended to fire at the rigging to disable the ship. If skill or luck placed one ship in a raking position early in a battle you can see very big differnces in the casualties.

_______________________________
David

http://historicnavalfiction.com *** http://www.astrodene.com
avatar
Astrodene
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet

Log Entries : 2860
Age : 65
Location : Essex, England
Joined : 2008-08-21

http://www.historicnavalfiction.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Aeneas7c on Sat 12 Sep 2009, 18:59

@Ziggy wrote:I've only read the first book so far but I have a few criticism's to make, although overall I enjoyed the book. Also like to add that I have no problems with reading books from this or earlier time periods.

The structure of his writing often frustrated me. If the narrator is going to tell us before hand of an important event he needs to follow it up promptly, not make me wait for several pages until I lose my enthusiasm to read of the venture.

Some important things were not well enough explained while others were over done. The part where Ellis goes overboard and is "revived" by Maturin comes to mind. It was very hard to tell whether the boy had actually lived and he was not mentioned again for quite some time making it further unclear.

The dialogue between characters was at times quite awful. I'm reminded of a quote from Hornblower, "Why must you speak when you have nothing to say?" In many cases I felt that the dialogue did nothing for either the plot or character development and was completely unnecessary. I hate reading friendly banter and small talk (which is dull enough in real life, let alone in a book) unless there is a particular point to it.

I thought overall the book was a bit too bloated, someone should have been harsher with the red pen. Some over indulgent descriptions and as I said above, unnecessary dialogue.

In his final battle against the frigate... I suppose that probably had some historical basis, but the casualty numbers seemed quite unrealistic to me. What was it... 3 out of 50 for Aubrey and 13 out of 300 for the frogs? I also fail to see how 300 men could remain effectively under guard against two dozen. But if there is some real world equivalent I can cop that, seems slightly unrealistic to me though.

However I still enjoyed the book and will definately be reading the other four I have and hoping that they get progressively better.

One of the most fascinating aspects of literature is that there is such a diversity of opinion to be found on almost any work. It so happens that I disagree with every major criticism you make in this post, but there is no good reason why we should see things similarly and it would be a dull world where consensus existed on everything.

I wouldn't cut a word of any of O'Brian's novels, and for me the dialogue between the characters is one of the main joys of his writing. The conversation always has a purpose, usually several; it reveals deeper aspects of character, informs on social and political history, and almost always moves the plot onwards. The difference between the Aubrey/Maturin series and the normal run of naval fiction is the utter authenticity of his writing; the author so immersed himself in the times and the subject that his writing commands the reader's (or at least this reader's) faith completely.

I'm not sure of your point about the casualty figures you mention; do you think them low for the encounter described? And the reason 300 men could be kept prisoner by two dozen was that they were all kept below decks, with gratings over the hatches to keep them there.

I hope you persist with O'Brian as he is for my money still the best of his genre by some distance.
avatar
Aeneas7c
Able Seaman
Able Seaman

Log Entries : 8
Age : 64
Location : Eyemouth, Berwickshire
Joined : 2009-05-26

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Ziggy on Wed 16 Sep 2009, 07:25

Well I'm half way through the second book now. Unfortunately I've found it quite dull so far, he has only just gotten a ship after 150 pages or so. I much prefer the books when they are at sea, the parts I dislike the most usually all happen on land. Aubrey walking around in a bears skin for several weeks as a convincing disguise? Keeping in mind that Aubrey is apparently well over 6 feet tall and extremely obese... I don't see it personally, thought that was quite a stretch.

The whole thing between Sophia, Diana, Maturin and Aubrey got very tiresome for me. Also, in the first book he said that Aubrey was Ugly, has hideous burns on his face, has lost all of one ear and most of the other, is extremely fat, bald, etc, yet in this book people keep saying how attractive he is? Seems to be a bit of flip flopping going on there? He is spectacularly ugly sometimes and then women and Maturin say he is very "attractive" other times? Don't quite get it, and they are definately talking about looks and not personality.

Still not finding the dialogue too flash personally and still think there is too much of it.

I shall persist, I do like the Historical accuracy and general flavour of the books so far, but there are things that irk me about them from time to time.

And fair enough about the 13 casualties out of 300 frenchman. Just seems a bit unrealistic to me, firing a broadside into a fairly tightly packed ship I would have thought would kill more people than that. In fact I would have thought a fair few of the Frenchmens own crew would have killed or crippled themselves at the guns seeing as how incompetent they apparently were. Still not sure about 24 men holding 300 even if they are locked below, but I suppose they were meant to be pretty pathetic sailors so it's all good. Presumably O'Brian did his research on those things so I'll just take his word for it. I would have been happier with 30 deaths and a bunch wounded for them, but it's all good.

Ziggy
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 3
Location : Melbourne
Joined : 2009-09-12

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Alaric Bond on Wed 16 Sep 2009, 09:08

@Ziggy wrote: Aubrey walking around in a bears skin for several weeks as a convincing disguise? Keeping in mind that Aubrey is apparently well over 6 feet tall and extremely obese... I don't see it personally, thought that was quite a stretch.

Yes, not one of his strongest passages.

Alaric Bond
Vice-Admiral of the White
Vice-Admiral of the White

Log Entries : 513
Age : 60
Location : Herstmonceux East Sussex
. :
Joined : 2008-09-07

http://www.alaricbond.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by reb01501 on Wed 16 Sep 2009, 20:32

Maybe we've been missing the point. Could it be that very few real bears were used in trained-bear acts at that time, and audiences weren't really surprised to see a man masquerading as a bear in one of these shows?

Just theorizing ... I forget if Aubrey was actually supposed to be fooling people into thinking he actually was a bear ...

_______________________________
Bob
avatar
reb01501
Vice-Admiral of the Blue
Vice-Admiral of the Blue

Log Entries : 642
Age : 62
Location : Massachusetts
Joined : 2008-12-19

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by johnk on Thu 17 Sep 2009, 07:15

@Ziggy wrote:In his final battle against the frigate... I suppose that probably had some historical basis, but the casualty numbers seemed quite unrealistic to me. What was it... 3 out of 50 for Aubrey and 13 out of 300 for the frogs? I also fail to see how 300 men could remain effectively under guard against two dozen. But if there is some real world equivalent I can cop that, seems slightly unrealistic to me though.

I think we're talking about the fight between the Sophie and the Spanish xebec frigate Cacafuego? O'Brian models this action (and a lot of the book) on the exploits of Lord Cochrane, a favorite also of Forester. This action is taken from the fight between H.M. Sloop Speedy and the Spanish xebec frigate Gamo.

Cochrane's report says:

Cochrane 200:60 wrote:Speedy's force at commencement of action: Fifty four officers, men, and boys, 14 4-pounders. Three killed and 8 wounded.

Gamo's force at commencement of action: Two hundred and seventy-four officers, seamen, and supernumaries. Forty-five marines. Guns, 32. Don Francisco de Torres, the boatswain, and 13 men killed, 41 wounded.

There has occasionally been some doubt about Lord Cochrane's version of things, but I believe this report has never been called into question.

Speedy's casualties are about 20%, the Spanish figures are about 17%. I don't think we ever learn what percentage of the wounded died later or were seriously incapacitated. When you consider that the initial and final ratios was something like 6:1 in favor of the Spanish (about 6.5:1 after) the wonder is not so much that the defeated and demoralized Spanish crew (presumably first driven below and then put in irons) didn't take the ship back, but that they were defeated in the first place.

Clearly moral factors were paramount. Some of them were managed or achieved in the course of the battle. For example both the Spanish captain and the Spanish chief NCO were killed. Others may have been implicit in the nature of the services. Here I am thinking about factors like the organization and experience of the crews. I wonder precisely what the supernumaries were, for example, and how many supernumaries and boys were on the respective sides. I think boy is essentially a rank - "unrated" - by the way, not an age.

Also, is the commander of the vessel included in the numbers of officers and men? Mentioned in the Spanish casualties, certainly, but I'm not sure if Cochrane adds himself or Don Francisco to the totals. In fact, he doesn't really provide totals per se. Were there any unmentioned British supernumaries (not on the complement)? I know that one has to be careful in working with British tallies for land forces because they normally only report rank and file, omitting officers and sergeants. I believe this is just conservatism - harking back to a time not long past when armies were reckoned in "horse (=mounted men) and men (or foot)" with the officers and sergeants omitted. It's not intended to be a misrepresentation, but it can result in confusion when numbers are analyzed later by the uninitiated. For many years the British forces at Waterloo were underestimated by some thousands as a result of this not factor being understood.

The Gamo's 32 guns were "22 long 12-pounders, 8 nines, and 2 heavy carronades" per the body of the letter.

Reference:

Cochrane, Admiral Lord. 2000 (originally 1860). The Autobiography of a Seaman. Introduction by Richard Woodman. The Lyons Press.

johnk
Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman

Log Entries : 17
Location : Colorado, USA
Joined : 2009-09-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by johnk on Thu 17 Sep 2009, 07:35

@Ziggy wrote:Also, in the first book he said that Aubrey was Ugly, has hideous burns on his face, has lost all of one ear and most of the other, is extremely fat, bald, etc, yet in this book people keep saying how attractive he is? Seems to be a bit of flip flopping going on there? He is spectacularly ugly sometimes and then women and Maturin say he is very "attractive" other times? Don't quite get it, and they are definately talking about looks and not personality.

Hoist with his own petard, as it were. Authors occasionally have to rethink things, particularly when they realize that their book was not a isolated thing, but part of an unanticipated series. Otherwise, I think the point is that it is Stephen, who only gradually comes to appreciate Jack's finer points as a person, who considers Jack ugly, and it is Stephen who throughout the series harps on his "obesity." Women, or at least some women, apparently don't notice any of the things that Stephen finds off-putting. When O'Brian allows us a glimpse of Stephen in the eyes of a third person he is generally described as ill-looking, short and thin. Perhaps Stephen is a little jealous, or perhaps he simply looks at things from a different point of view. I don't think Jack is ever described as bald. He does eventually start to gray, to his chagrin.

I'd have to say that I don't really mind some of the things Ziggy considers extraneous, but I have changed over time. The first time I picked up an O'Brian, some years ago, I hated it in one paragraph. Fifteen years later, I loved it. I keep re-trying Lewrie, hoping the same thing with happen. Fortunately for all of us, there are a wide variety of authors to choose from!

johnk
Leading Seaman
Leading Seaman

Log Entries : 17
Location : Colorado, USA
Joined : 2009-09-14

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by reb01501 on Fri 18 Sep 2009, 18:18

@susan wrote:Hi Aeneas7c,

I am very interested in Basil Hall (1788–1844), who was a naval officer and a popular author in his time. Here is one sample of POB's work compared to Hall's:

"Muster Clothes at Divisions"

From Treason's Harbour (Chapter 4):

"Mr Calamy," said Captain Aubrey to the young gentleman attached to this division, "tell me what constitutes a well-regulated seaman's kit in high latitudes—a sober, responsible seaman in a King's ship, I mean, not a fly-by-night piss-in-the-corner privateersman that cannot hold his liquour."

"Two blue jackets, sir, one pea jacket, two pair of blue trousers, two pair of shoes, six shirts, four pairs of ...
But couldn't the character have been quoting from the same source? You must admit that it reads as such. It is the type of thing a middie would be required to memorize and be able to recite. Similar to a modern infantryman being required to recite the by-the-manual procedure for dismantling and reassembling an M-16.

This isn't a scholarly work, so some liberty should be allowed, otherwise the book's size could be bloated by footnotes and attributions.

_______________________________
Bob
avatar
reb01501
Vice-Admiral of the Blue
Vice-Admiral of the Blue

Log Entries : 642
Age : 62
Location : Massachusetts
Joined : 2008-12-19

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by USCG '74-'77 on Sat 27 Mar 2010, 03:47

I have read all of the Hornblowers, and much of the Bolitho series, and then smatterings of the rest. Suffice it to say that no author reaches the lofty heights, the impregnable fortress, of Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey and Maturin canon. It is literature, great literature; erudite, elegant, witty, and ever-so-engaging. It simply must be read from start to finish; one cannot read these novels higgledy-piggly. There are several great story arcs within the canon that require the reader to read the volumes (in order) and treat them like chapters in a nearly 7,000 page novel. This is, in my opinion, the finest historical fiction in the English language. O'Brian's favorite author was Jane Austen, and it surely shows in the quality of his writing.
avatar
USCG '74-'77
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 3
Age : 61
Location : Valencia, California
Joined : 2010-03-26

http://www.lonebearimagesprose.blogspot.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Gary Covington on Mon 29 Mar 2010, 09:49

USCG '74-'77

Hear Hear ! Read the novels.Enjoy

Gary Covington
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 2
Location : Davao City,Philippines.
Joined : 2010-03-29

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Auntie Pam on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 18:17

I understand very little of what's going on (the nautical terms and descriptions of the military actions), yet I can't stop reading these novels. For me, the relationships between the characters are the strong points. Another strong point is looking at the world through the eyes of 19th century people, Stephen's joy at new birds and bugs, Aubrey wading through the political mire, and a look at the domestic life of sailors and their families. Sometimes I wish for more from Sophie's point of view -- taking care of home and family on her own, with only that harpy mother for help.

My only criticism is that each book ends on something of a cliffhanger, but since I only started reading them after they were all finished, that really doesn't matter. I don't have to wait a year to see what happens next, I just have to get the next book.

Auntie Pam
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 3
Location : Iowa (US)
Joined : 2010-04-24

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Astrodene on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 18:30

I've at last started to buy some of these that I have not read so perhaps I'll be reading the series soon.
@Auntie Pam wrote:I understand very little of what's going on (the nautical terms and descriptions of the military actions)
There are a number of factual books aimed at people who want to learn more having read the novels by various authors. Personally I read 'Life in Nelson's Navy' by Dudley Pope (author of the Ramage series) but you'll find many more in the non-fiction section of the website. www.historicnavalfiction.com/index.php/general-hnf-info/non-fiction

_______________________________
David

http://historicnavalfiction.com *** http://www.astrodene.com
avatar
Astrodene
Admiral of the Fleet
Admiral of the Fleet

Log Entries : 2860
Age : 65
Location : Essex, England
Joined : 2008-08-21

http://www.historicnavalfiction.com

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Auntie Pam on Sat 24 Apr 2010, 18:57

Thanks for that -- I'll check it out.

I'm re-reading Two Years Before the Mast by Richard Henry Dana. He gives a bit more background on the technical stuff, but not much.

What I'd really like to find is video instruction -- which sails perform which functions, what happens in different parts of the ship, how a ship's constructions affects sailing capability, etc.

It just amazes me that wooden ships were so sturdy and maneuverable!

Auntie Pam
Ordinary Seaman
Ordinary Seaman

Log Entries : 3
Location : Iowa (US)
Joined : 2010-04-24

Back to top Go down

the best

Post by The Ranger on Sun 04 Jul 2010, 15:57

i have read both the Hornblower and Aubrey series many times. I became hooked 45 years ago at school when we had to read "the cargo of rice" short story. Our English teacher(a Highland man who had lost a leg in the war0 told me that I would become addicted to forester's novels and he was proved correct. Aubrey and Maturin entered my life about 7 years ago and made a tremendous impact. On serious reflection I find POB a more rounded writer with a great gift for understated humour. Yet Hornblower is such a great character. Let us not bother with attempting to rate them. Enjoy both series as amongst the finest writing in the English language.

The Ranger
Landsman
Landsman

Log Entries : 1
Location : Glasgow, Scotland
Joined : 2010-07-04

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Loblolly boy on Mon 19 Jul 2010, 16:11

Just a quick note on Aubrey's 'obesity'. As has been mentioned, this is a favourite hobby-horse of Dr Maturin's, one which is, if I may say, very common among physicians to this day... I get the feeling that Jack has a tendency to gain a little weight when inactive for any length of time. He's a heavy-sety sort of chap anyway. The burns were, I believe, relatively superficial and would not necessarily cause permanent scarring. My personal stumbling block is 'The Wine-Dark Sea', which after three attempts, I haven't been able to get into. I have no idea why. I shall persevere.

Loblolly boy
Petty Officer
Petty Officer

Log Entries : 30
Age : 54
Location : Biddulph, Stoke On Trent
Joined : 2010-06-30

Back to top Go down

Re: Is he the best? Of course he is! Unless you don't think so...

Post by Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

Page 1 of 2 1, 2  Next

View previous topic View next topic Back to top


 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum