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Encyclopedia > Master and Commander
Title Master and Commander

Cover by Geoff Hunt for Master and Commander.
Author Patrick O'Brian
Cover artist Geoff Hunt
Country United Kingdom
Language English
Series Aubrey-Maturin series
Genre(s) Historical novel
Publisher Harper Collins (UK)
Released 1970
Media type Print (Hardback & Paperback) & Audio Book (Cassette, CD)
Pages 352 pp (Hardback edition) & 352 pp (Paperback edition)
ISBN ISBN ? (Hardback edition) & ISBN 0-00-612913-7 (Paperback edition UK)
Followed by Post Captain (Novel)

Master and Commander is a historical naval novel by Patrick O'Brian. First published in 1970 it is first in the Aubrey-Maturin series of stories of Captain Jack Aubrey and the naval surgeon Stephen Maturin. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (600x955, 112 KB)Cover image of the novel Master and Commander. ... Patrick OBrian (December 12, 1914 – January 2, 2000; original name Richard Patrick Russ) was a novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and an Irish–Catalan... In political geography and international politics a country is a geographical entity, a territory, most commonly associated with the notions of state or nation. ... The English language is a West Germanic language that originates in England. ... The Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad, is a sequence of 20 historical novels by Patrick OBrian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centring on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a physician... A historical novel is a novel in which the story is set among historical events, or more generally, in which the time of the action predates the lifetime of the author. ... A publisher is a person or entity which engages in the act of publishing. ... Collins was a Scottish printing company founded by a schoolmaster, William Collins, in Glasgow in 1819. ... 1970 (MCMLXX) was a common year starting on Thursday. ... A hardcover (or hardback or hardbound) book is bound with rigid protective covers (typically of cardboard covered with cloth or heavy paper) and a stitched spine. ... To meet Wikipedias quality standards, this article may require cleanup. ... Typical 60-minute Compact Cassette. ... A Compact Disc or CD is an optical disc used to store digital data, originally developed for storing digital audio. ... The barcode of an ISBN . ... The Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad, is a sequence of 20 historical novels by Patrick OBrian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centring on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a physician... Patrick OBrian (December 12, 1914 – January 2, 2000; original name Richard Patrick Russ) was a novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars and centered on the friendship of Captain Jack Aubrey and an Irish–Catalan... The Aubrey–Maturin series, also known as the Aubreyad, is a sequence of 20 historical novels by Patrick OBrian, set during the Napoleonic Wars and centring on the friendship between Captain Jack Aubrey of the Royal Navy and his ships surgeon Stephen Maturin, who is also a physician...

Contents

Plot summary

It is April 18, 1800, in Port Mahon, Minorca, at that time a base of the Royal Navy. Jack Aubrey, a lieutenant languishing in port without a ship, and Stephen Maturin, a penniless half-Irish, half-Catalan physician and natural philosopher, meet for the first time at the Governor's Ball. Maturin nudges Aubrey while they are listening to the quartet and almost provokes a challenge to a duel. April 18 is the 108th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar (109th in leap years). ... // ON MAY 5 1853 MR.FADER HAD SEX WITH A MAN NAME MR WIEN THEN THEY HAD SON NAMEDMRS COTURE AND MR MANOOGIAN WENT INTO MRS HASKELLS OFFICE NAKED AND DANCED AROUND AND MASTERBATED ON HER CHEST AND SHE LICKED IT OFF THEN THEY HAD ORAL SEEX WITH NAPLOEAN OF... The Irish surname MacMahon is not related. ... Flag of Minorca This is a taula from the site of Talatì de Dalt about 4km west of Maó Minorca (Menorca both in Catalan and Spanish and increasingly in British usage; from Latin Balearis Minor, later Minorica minor island) is one of the Balearic Islands (Illes Balears Catalan official name... Lieutenant is a military, naval, paramilitary, fire service or police officer rank. ... Anthem: Capital Barcelona Official language(s) Catalan,Spanish and Aranese. ... The Doctor by Luke Fildes This article is about the term physician, one type of doctor; for other uses of the word doctor see Doctor. ... Natural philosophy is a term applied to the objective study of nature and the physical universe before the development of modern science. ... A duel is a formalized type of combat. ...


On his return to his lodgings, Aubrey finds that he has been given a command and promoted to the rank of commander. His joy overcomes his animosity towards Maturin and they become fast friends. As 'Master and Commander', and in charge of the tiny sloop-of-war HMS Sophie, Aubrey has to fill out his crew, including the post of ship's surgeon. He persuades Maturin to serve, at least on a temporary basis, although as a physician, he is overqualified for the job. Commander is a military rank which is also sometimes used as a military title depending on the individual customs of a given military service. ... USS Constellation, a United States Navy sloop-of-war. ...


Also introduced are Master's Mates Thomas Pullings and William Mowett and midshipman William Babbington, who become long-term fixtures in the series, and James Dillon, Sophie's first lieutenant, whose secret background of Irish Republicanism intersects Stephen's own. A midshipman is a subordinate officer, or alternatively a commissioned officer of the lowest rank, in the navies of several English-speaking countries. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ...


He changes the armament of the ship and improves her sailing by adding a larger spar. He makes her ready to sail in convoy with twelve merchant vessels. During their journey east, the new captain takes the opportunity to get to know his sailors and to weld them into a fighting unit. As he does, he and the crew explain many naval matters to Maturin, since the doctor is a novice sailor.


En route, they meet an Algerian quarter-galley who attacks their rearmost vessel, the Norwegian Dorthe Engelbrechtsdatter. The Sophie chases her off. Eventually, having retrieved the Norse ship, the convoy makes its destination off Cagliari. After a second convoy duty to Leghorn, Aubrey reports to Lord Keith in the Genoa roads. Càgliari is the capital of the island of Sardinia, an autonomous region of Italy. ... Livorno, sometimes in English Leghorn, (population 170,000) is a port city on the Ligurian Sea on the western edge of Tuscany, Italy. ... George Keith Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith (1746-1823), British admiral, fifth son of the 10th Lord Elphinstone, was born in Elphinstone Tower, near Stirling, on the 7th of January 1746. ...


Characters in "Master and Commander"

See also Recurring characters in the Aubrey–Maturin series This is a list of recurring characters in the Aubrey–Maturin series of novels by Patrick OBrian. ...

  • Jack Aubrey – Lieutenant in the Royal Navy and appointed Commander at the start. Captain of HMS Sophie.
  • Stephen Maturin – ship's surgeon, friend to Jack and intelligence officer.
  • Harte – Captain and station Commandant
  • Molly Harte – Wife to the station Commandant
  • Lord Keith (Thos Walker) – Admiral in the Mediterranean
  • Samuel Allen – erstwhile Captain in Sophie, succeeded by Aubrey
  • Mr. Baldick – Lieutenant in Sophie, ill and replaced
  • Mr. Williams – administrator in Mahon for Aubrey's prize-agent
  • David Richards – Mr. Williams relative who ships as Midshipman in Sophie
  • William Marshall – master in Sophie
  • Tom Pullings – master's mate in Sophie
  • William Mowett – master's mate in Sophie
  • Isaac Wilson – ordinary seaman in Sophie
  • Watt – bosun in Sophie
  • Lamb – carpenter
  • Ricketts – purser
  • George Day – the gunner
  • Charles Stephen Ricketts – son to the purser, rated midshipman
  • William Babbington – midshipman in Sophie
  • James Dillon – first lieutenant in Sophie
  • Alfred King – negro crew member, also a dumb mute
  • Quinn – sergeant of marines

George Keith Elphinstone, 1st Viscount Keith (1746-1823), British admiral, fifth son of the 10th Lord Elphinstone, was born in Elphinstone Tower, near Stirling, on the 7th of January 1746. ...

Ships in "Master and Commander"

British

  • HMS Audacious - Ship of the line and flagship
  • HMS Niobe - frigate
  • HMS Pallas - frigate
  • HMS Sophie - sloop
  • Burford -
  • Généreux -
  • Tartarus - bomb-ketch

Spanish

The Spanish name Cacafuego correctly means Shitfire, that which shits fire. When Sir Francis Drake captured the Spanish treasure galleon Cacafuego, the name was euphemistically translated into English as Spitfire. This name-related article is a stub. ... XEBEC is a subsidiary of the anime studio Production I.G. that specialises in the production of television anime. ... For the bird, see Frigatebird. ...

Major themes

Many incidents and events in the book are directly copied from the real cruises of Lord Cochrane in his sloop HMS Speedy. Cochrane described them in detail in his Autobiography of a Seaman. Rear Admiral Thomas Alexander Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquês do Maranhão GCB RN (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831[1], was a radical politician and naval officer. ... The sloop HMS Speedy was commanded by Thomas Cochrane in which he achieved his most famous exploit, the capture of the Spanish xebec El Gamo, 32 guns and 319 men compared to Speedys 14 guns and 54 men, on 6 May 1801. ...


Allusions/references to actual history, geography and current science

The capture of the Spanish xebec-frigate Cacafuego by the greatly inferior Sophie brings Aubrey and his crew great glory (although no great wealth). This episode is based on the capture of the Spanish frigate El Gamo by Thomas Cochrane commanding the sloop HMS Speedy.[1] For the bird, see Frigatebird. ... Rear Admiral Thomas Alexander Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, Marquês do Maranhão GCB RN (14 December 1775 – 31 October 1860), styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831[1], was a radical politician and naval officer. ... The sloop HMS Speedy was commanded by Thomas Cochrane in which he achieved his most famous exploit, the capture of the Spanish xebec El Gamo, 32 guns and 319 men compared to Speedys 14 guns and 54 men, on 6 May 1801. ...


The exploit of setting up a decoy of a large ship at night by attaching lights to a small boat was executed by Cochrane and described in his Autobiography of a Seaman, which was used by O'Brian as source material for this novel. It was also used by the French privateer Robert Surcouf to successfully escape the British frigate HMS Sybille. A privateer was a private ship (or its captain) authorized by a countrys government by letters of marque to attack foreign shipping. ... Statue of Robert Surcouf in Saint-Malo. ...


The book ends with Aubrey and Maturin witnessing the Battle of Algeciras, firstly from the deck of the French Desiax, then from the Rock of Gibraltar. The Battle of Algeciras Bay began on July 8, British squadron of seven ships of the line, one frigate and one brig, under French squadron of three line-of-battle ships and one frigate, under Admiral Linois. ... The Rock of Gibraltar, sometimes called the Pillar of Hercules, is located in Gibraltar, off the southwestern tip of Europe on the Iberian Peninsula. ...


Literary significance & criticism

"Nothing is glamourised. The press gangings, the squalor are all here....The battle scenes are tremendous...This is not secondhand Forester, but a really fine piece of writing."—Sunday Mirror.[2]

Reviews

  • Martin Levin (1969). "Master and Commander". New York Times Book Review 14 Dec. 
  • ? (1969). "Master and Commander". Kirkus Review 1 Oct. 
  • David C. Taylor (1969). "Master and Commander". Literary Journal 15 Dec. 
  • ? (1970). "Master and Commander". Sunday Mirror 18 Jan. 
  • Benedict Nightingale (1970). "Master and Commander". Observer 18 Jan. 
  • Tom Pocock (1970). "Master and Commander". Evening Standard 20 Jan. 
  • H.J. Poole (1970). "Master and Commander". Irish Press 21 Jan. 

Benedict Nightingale is a British journalist and the regular theatre critic of the Times newspaper. ...

Film, TV or theatrical adaptations

The film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World takes part of its title from this novel and some themes along with several puns, but very little of its plot. In fact, no one book provides the total plot line for the movie. A significant portion comes from The Far Side of the World, with somewhat less from H.M.S. Surprise and other books. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 film directed by Peter Weir and starring Russell Crowe as Jack Aubrey, with Paul Bettany as Stephen Maturin. ... The Far Side of the World is a novel by Patrick OBrian, the tenth in the Aubrey–Maturin series. ...


Release details

  • 1970, UK, Collins Publishers (ISBN ?), Pub Date ? ? 1970, Hardback
  • 1970, USA, Books on Tape (ISBN 5-557-10141-1), Pub date ? January 1970, Audio cassette (unabridged) not sure if the date can be correct
  • 1972, UK, Fontana (ISBN 0-00-612913-7), Pub Date 1 May 1972, Paperback
  • 1989, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-616626-1), Pub date 9 February 1989, Paperback
  • 1990, USA, W. W. Norton & Company (ISBN 0-393-30705-0), Pub date ? November 1990, Paperback
  • 1992, UK, ISIS Audio Books (ISBN 1-85089-877-4), Pub date ? October 1992, Audio cassette (unabridged)
  • 1994, USA, W. W. Norton & Company (ISBN 0-393-03701-0), Pub date ? November 1994, Paperback
  • 1995, UK, Bespoke Audio (ISBN 1-86051-003-5), Pub date ? June 1995, Audio cassette (abridged Robert Hardy Narrator)
  • 1996, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-649915-5), Pub date 7 October 1996, Paperback
  • 1998, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-221526-8), Pub date 27 January 1998, Hardback
  • 1999, USA, Thorndike Press (ISBN 0-7862-1932-7), Pub date ? November 1999, Large print paperback
  • 1999, USA, Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & Co (ISBN 0-7540-1334-0), Pub date 1 November 1999, Board book ?
  • 2000, USA, Chivers, Windsor, Paragon & Co (ISBN 0-7540-2248-X), Pub date 1 August 2000, Large print paperback
  • 2002, UK, Soundings (ISBN 1-84283-310-3), Pub date ? June 2002, Audio Cassette (abridged Christopher Kay Narrator)
  • 2003, USA, W. W. Norton & Company (ISBN 0-393-32517-2), Pub date ? October 2003, Paperback (Movie Tie-In)
  • 2003, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-716608-7), Pub date 6 October 2003, Hardback (Movie Tie-In)
  • 2003, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-715786-X), Pub date 6 October 2003, Paperback (Movie Tie-In)
  • 2003, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-105329-9), Pub date 6 October 2003, Audio Cassette (abridged Robert Hardy Narrator)
  • 2003, UK, Harper Collins (ISBN 0-00-716085-2), Pub date 6 October 2003, Audio CD (abridged Robert Hardy Narrator)
  • 2004, USA, W. W. Norton & Company (ISBN 0-393-32476-1), Pub date 21 January 2004, Paperback (Movie Tie-In)
  • 2004, UK, Blackstone Audiobooks (ISBN 0-7861-8713-1), Pub date ? January 2004, MP3 CD (abridged Robert Whitfield (Narrator)
  • 2005, UK, Soundings (ISBN 1-84283-260-3), Pub date ? January 2005, Audio Cassette (abridged Christopher Kay? Narrator)
  • ?, USA, Firebird Distributing (ISBN 0-00-105329-9), Pub date ? ? ?, Paperback ?
  • ?, USA, Recorded Books, LLC (ISBN 1-4025-8272-2), Pub date ? ? ?, Audio cassette (unabridged by

Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge in the film Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban Timothy Sydney Robert Hardy, CBE (born October 29, 1925) is one of Britains best-known and most popular actors, and also an acknowledged expert on the longbow. ... Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge in the film Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban Timothy Sydney Robert Hardy, CBE (born October 29, 1925) is one of Britains best-known and most popular actors, and also an acknowledged expert on the longbow. ... Robert Hardy as Cornelius Fudge in the film Harry Potter and Prisoner of Azkaban Timothy Sydney Robert Hardy, CBE (born October 29, 1925) is one of Britains best-known and most popular actors, and also an acknowledged expert on the longbow. ...

Sources, references, external links, quotations

  • Richard O'Neill (2003). Patrick O'Brian's Navy: The Illustrated Companion to Jack Aubrey's World. Running Press. ISBN 0-7624-1540-1. 
  • Dean King (2001). A Sea of Words: Lexicon and Companion for Patrick O'Brian's Seafaring Tales. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-6615-2. 
  • Dean King (2001). Harbors and High Seas: Map Book and Geographical Guide to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian. Henry Holt. ISBN 0-8050-6614-4. 
  • Brian Lavery (2003). Jack Aubrey Commands: An Historical Companion to the Naval World of Patrick O'Brian. Conway Maritime. ISBN 0-85177-946-8. 
  • Anne Chotzinoff Grossman, Lisa Grossman Thomas (2000). Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which Is a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels. W W Norton & Co Ltd. ISBN 0-393-32094-4. 
  • David Miller (2003). The World of Jack Aubrey: Twelve-Pounders, Frigates, Cutlasses, and Insignia of His Majesty's Royal Navy. Running Press Book Publishers. ISBN 0-7624-1652-1. 
  • A.E. Cunningham (Editor) (1994). Patrick O'Brian: A Bibliography and Critical Appreciation. British Library Publishing Division. ISBN 0-7123-1071-1. 

Footnotes

  1. ^ Thomas Cochrane's original capture of "El Gamo"
  2. ^ Sunday Mirror review - quoted in "Cunningham"


Patrick O'Brian
Characters: Jack Aubrey | Stephen Maturin
Aubrey-Maturin series: Master and Commander | Post Captain | HMS Surprise | The Mauritius Command | Desolation Island | The Fortune of War | The Surgeon's Mate | The Ionian Mission | Treason's Harbour | The Far Side of the World | The Reverse of the Medal | The Letter of Marque | The Thirteen-Gun Salute | The Nutmeg of Consolation | Clarissa Oakes | The Wine-Dark Sea | The Commodore | The Yellow Admiral | The Hundred Days | Blue at the Mizzen | The Final Unfinished Voyage of Jack Aubrey
Other Novels: Caesar | Hussein | Testimonies | The Catalans | The Golden Ocean | The Unknown Shore | Richard O'Brian | The Rendezvous and other stories
Non-Fiction: Men-of-War: Life in Nelson's Navy | Picasso | Joseph Banks: A Life
Biographies of O'Brian: Patrick O'Brian - A life revealed | Patrick O'Brian: The Making of the Novelist | Patrick O'Brian: A Bibliography and Critical Appreciation
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Cinema Eye: Master and Commander (448 words)
With a laboriously sluggish story line and vaguely developed characters, high hopes for Master and Commander as the next epic blocbuster may sink to the bottom of the ocean.
Master and Commander is based on the historical novel by Author Patrick O Brian, a relatively undiscovered, author of the twentieth century whose naval adventure novels in recent years have been acclaimed as the best historical novels ever written.
And with all of the great movies made in the history of cinema, and the few spare hours that you have to sit and watch them in your life, you may be wasting precious time viewing this one.
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