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C.S Forester and H.Hornblower

Discussion in 'Historical Fiction' started by Connavar, Oct 29, 2008.

  1.  
    Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    Since my thread is gone i can recreate this.

    I have finished Hotspur my fourth HH book. It was great read.

    So far i rate them like this :

    The Happy Return
    Hornblower and The Hotspur
    Lieutenant Hornblower
    Mr. Midshipman Hornblower
     
  2.  
    2DaveWixon

    2DaveWixon Hoka-slayer

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    MR. MIDSHIPMAN HORNBLOWER was my very first Forester, and it hooked me on those books; I've read them all multiple times, I assure you. But in the time since your post, have you continued? I can go on to recommend to you the stories of Patrick O'Brian, set pretty much in the same era.

    Dave Wixon
     
  3.  
    Lew Rockwell Fan

    Lew Rockwell Fan Have tasp, will travel.

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    I loved both series and read them all. I get annoyed with people saying O'Brian is better. O'Brian is DIFFERENT. Much of the "action" in Forrester's stories (not just Hornblower, most of his stuff is like this) is inside the character's heads. O'Brian didn't do much stream of consciousness stuff. Usually you see everything from the outside. Forrester mostly keeps his eye on the main character, almost a 1st person kind of feel, though both wrote in the 3rd person. O'B skips around a lot more. O'Brian is frequently funny. Forrester rarely is. Forrester is more tense. In terms of painting a picture of the times, I think Forrester is much more realistic. O'Brian deals with a much wider slice of life though. Hornblower is an idealist, an intellectual, and a naval officer. Aubrey is all that, though his idealism is less thought out and his intellect is more limited in scope, but he is also a landowner, a politician, a lord of the manor, an amateur astronomer, a womanizer. He has at least a nodding acquaintance with 2 of the leading scientists of the day. And Maturin is Doc Savage and 007, with a past. Forrester is careful to keep Hornblower's chronology consistent and believable. O'B didn't try to.

    I'm not sure what got O'B started. Forrester started thinking about Hornblower while reading antique bound volumes of The Naval Chronicle of that era.
     
  4.  
    Connavar

    Connavar Well-Known Member

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    I have read all Hornblower books in chrono order except the last Admiral book, the unfinished one he wrote later on. I like Hornblower himself but im really a big fan of the series because of the nautical terms, the naval warfare history, the research in the way the ships,ranks,wars on the sea worked.

    I havent read O'Brian yet but i should have read him years ago, its a long series, the prose style is very different for historical fiction series. Is there a good place to start that series ?
     
  5.  
    Lew Rockwell Fan

    Lew Rockwell Fan Have tasp, will travel.

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    I'd read them in chronological order, starting with Master and Commander.
     
  6.  
    2DaveWixon

    2DaveWixon Hoka-slayer

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    I second that! The development of the Aubrey series proceeds steadily from volume to volume, and that is important not only to the external world being portrayed, but to the development of the characters.
    Dave
     
  7.  
    Vertigo

    Vertigo Mad Mountain Man

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    Having come from Forester and now half way through my first O'Brian book I do have a couple of significant differences that I have noted:

    O'Brian seems to put a lot more period language into the narrative whereas Forester tended to restrict that mainly to dialogue. I find this a little harder to read (though I am getting used to it); I've found myself doing quite a bit of googling words that don't appear in my eReader dictionary because they are rarely used now or their use has significantly changed in meaning. Authentic maybe but a little difficult at times.

    I think O'Brian paints a more accurate picture of lower decks behaviour. The presence of women ("trollops") on board peeking out at him from behind bales when he is inspecting the ship and then the question as to whether all these women should be located and ejected before the ship sailed. And it was presented as a decision to be made not a forgone conclusion and a decision that Aubrey's Lieutenant almost questions. I found this interesting and a little research shows it to be quite accurate and yet it is something that Forester almost completely ignores. In fact in general I'd say O'Brian seems to present a more in depth picture of those lower decks. Although Forester does occasionally adopt a POV other than Hornblower, that POV is always firmly in officer territory and rarely goes into those lower decks. O'Brian uses more POVs and takes you much more intimately into the lower decks.

    Finally a warning. Half way through Master and Commander I would say there is considerably less fighting action in the book than in most Hornblower books. That's not to say I'm not enjoying it, I am, but I would say there is less of that kind of action. I have heard it said that this first Aubrey/Maturin book is slower than the subsequent ones. So thought I'd just add that warning @Connavar
     
  8.  
    Lew Rockwell Fan

    Lew Rockwell Fan Have tasp, will travel.

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    I linked to this in another thread, but it might be better here. Some of the people attracted to this thread will probably enjoy Stan Rogers' music. An example:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=s0CvSIhF_tA
     
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