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    Re: C S Forester novels. was: Re: Basque Country XIX century
    From: Wolfgang K�berer
    Date: 2010 Mar 15, 21:44 +0100

    Most of the time I agree with George - as long time list members will
    remember - but here I beg to differ:
    
    Forester is quite inferior to O'Brian. O'Brian paints a detailed picture of
    life in Britain at the beginning of the 19th century; his books are not only
    based in a naval setting but encompassing British life as a whole -
    including famous stock swindles of that period (a subject matter dear to me
    due to my profession). It is not all heroic actions at sea - some novels
    mostly deal with life on shore. And the female characters (Sophie Aubrey and
    Diana Villiers) are not just decoration but persons that really matter and
    that have a life of their own, whereas Forester's female characters just
    seem to be accesories that he kills off when his story seems to require that
    (like Hornblower's first wife and other loves). In addition: as far as
    language is concerned O'Brian is a joy to read.
    
    I would put Forester in the same category as Marryat; he even copied some
    material from him. And "Brown on Resolution" reminds me of the infamous
    painting "Der letzte Mann" by Hans Bohrdt.
    
    But it seems that the simpler story is easier to be cast into a movie:
    "Master and Commander" - based on O'Brian's novels - is just awful. Russell
    Crowe is miscast, the screenplay is a perfect jumble of parts of several
    books, whereas there is a very nice Hornblower series apparently made for UK
    TV which perfectly recreates the feeling of the books. Unfortunately the
    series was discontinued after 6 or 8 episodes, stopping before the story
    recreated in "Captain Horatio Hornblower RN". Maybe the whole thing became
    too expensive.
    
    A few more recommendations:
    
    Dudley Pope: The "Ramage" series
    (More in the Hornblower line. Pope also wrote informed non-fiction books on
    naval history, for instance "At 12 Mr Byng Was Shot" about the unfortunate
    Admiral Byng who was shot on the quarter deck of his ship for failing to
    engage the Spanish fleet in the Battle of Minorca which occasioned Voltaire
    to quip in "Candide": "Dans ce pays-ci, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps
    un amiral pour encourager les autres")
    
    C. Northcote Parkinson (of "Parkinson's Law"): The "Richard Delancey"
    series. Parkinson also wrote a reader about Hornblower "The Life and Times
    of Horatio Hornblower" where he unveiled the mystery of who killed Captain
    Sawyer.
    
    My personal favourite - apart from O'Brian - is Showell Styles: "Mr.
    Fitton's Commission", part of a series which is reprinted at the moment
    (quite expensive). It is delightful in its stoic hero.
    
    Oh, and I have to regretfully admit: there is nothing comparable in the
    German tongue. There were some feeble attempts (Frank Adam for instance) but
    it just doesn't work if you try to model your heroes from foreign settings
    and foreign exploits.
    
    Wolfgang
    
    
    
    
    
    
    
    

       
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