A list of resources on the World Wide Web relating to author Patrick O'Brian, his novels, and life in the Royal Navy during the Age of Sail.
A N N O U N C E M E N T
Patrick O'Brian Symposium[Seaport Web Site][Symposium Information][Speaker Schedule (PDF)]
Sunday, May 4, 2003
Seamen's Inne Restaurant & Pub at Mystic Seaport
Patrick O'Brian passed away in a Dublin hotel room on 2 January 2000 at the age of 85. His body was returned to his home in the village of Collioure, France, to be buried in a cemetary plot next to his late wife Mary. "Searching for POB" is Jim Klein's interesting account of a visit to Collioure with his wife Zelda, and their quest to pay respects at O'Brian's grave site.
In Memoriam: Patrick O'Brian
12 December 1914 - 2 January 2000
Please imagine that the Gunroom burgee at the head of this page has been lowered on its halyard to half-mast. Though a great writer who has given hours upon days upon weeks of reading pleasure to myriad readers has died, he has secured for himself immortality through his great art, which will live on well beyond his brief tenure in this world.
...And I will not say I cried at his death, but I will not say I did not.
[David Mamet, "The Humble Genre Novel, Sometimes Full of Genius", The New York Times, 17 January 2000]
During O'Brian's New York book tour for Blue at the Mizzen, the recently-published twentieth Aubrey-Maturin novel, I was able to attend his conversation with Walter Cronkite at the New York Public Library. He mentioned he had completed the third chapter of the twenty-first - a surprise because he had previously announced that he would complete the series at twenty. While it is unlikely he was able to complete number twenty-one, there are many who hope it will be published unfinished.
O'Brian wrote a short piece, "Full Nelson:Outmanned and outgunned, the British flummoxed the French", included in the first of the New York Times Magazine's six millennium issues. It appeared among a page of "The Best" written by a score of other notable writers. O'Brian's department is "Best Naval Battle." It is, perhaps, the last thing he published while alive.
Patrick O'Brian's birth date was provided by Dean King, author of several companion works to the Aubrey-Maturin canon including A Sea of Words, the essential glossary, Harbors and High Seas, a geographical companion, and Every Man Will Do His Duty, a collection of contemporary accounts by participants in the events that surrounded the novels. "I had to travel to Ireland to find it out, and even then, of course, I couldn't find it because his birth wasn't registered there," he said. Dean has written the first O'Brian biography - Patrick O'Brian: A Life Revealed published by Henry Holt. He is widely quoted in the obituaries and accounts listed below. Dean is interviewed in the current edition of a web-zine called "The Idler" in which he discusses O'Brian's death, the biography, the significance of O'Brian's work, and how he followed a wispy trail of clues to discover O'Brian's true identity.
See H.M.S. Surprise in Mourning, a tribute in pen, ink, and words by Geoff Hunt the marine artist who painted the book covers for O'Brian's novels of the sea.
Kenneth Ringle, who coined the phrase "the best writer you never heard of", has written a personal memoir, "Appreciation" in which he recounts how H.M.S Surprise tender Ringle, a Baltimore clipper, got her name; The Washington Post, 8 January
Read "O'Brian Rules the Waves", by George Will,The Washington Post, 13 January
Richard Snow, whose critical appreciation in 1991 of O'Brian's work "An Author I'd Walk the Plank For" launched a million readers, weighs in with "How a Nautical Novelist Conquered America", a Commentary in The Wall Street Journal., 13 January (requires subscription)
Below are links to newspaper and radio accounts of O'Brian's passing...
- The Irish Times
- "Novelist Patrick O'Brian dies in Dublin aged 85", by Kitty Holland, 7 January
- "He left questioners at sea asked about origins", by Kevin Myers, 7 January
- "An Irishman's Diary", by Kevin Myers, 8 January (personal memoir)
- "Many came to love the prose of a private man" by Helen Lacy Burke, 8 January
- "An Irishman's Diary", by Kevin Myers, 11 July, 1997 (account of Trinity College Dublin event where O'Brian received honorary doctorate)
- The Electronic Telegraph
- "Patrick O'Brian, the creator of a naval epic, dies aged 85", by Ben Fenton, 7 January
- "Obituary: Patrick O'Brian", 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian: Creator of a compelling series of sea novels who made his own life a secret", 8 January (identical to 7 January article)
- "Bankrupt Tolstoy 'to benefit' from O'Brian legacy", Sunday, 9 January 2000
- O'Brian: the most Irish Englishman by Kevin Myers, 22 January 2000
- The BBC
- Naval epic writer dies", 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian: Master of the seafaring saga", Obituary with good pictures, 7 January
- "The adventures of Aubrey and Maturin", by Bob Eddington, 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian wrote escapism for intellectuals", by Nick Higham, a video account (requires RealPlayer), 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian, author of seafaring novels, dies at 85", The Associated Press, 7 January
- "Sea-loving novelist O'Brian dies at 85", CNN (Reuters), 7 January
- "Author Patrick O'Brian Dies", by Neal Conan, National Public Radio, 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian, Whose 20 Sea Stories Won Him International Fame, Dies at 85", by Frank J. Prial, The New York Times, 7 January (unabridged print version, bracketed text courtesy Herbert Grossman)
- "Novelist Patrick O'Brian dies", by John Sturgis, Yahoo UK, 7 January
- "Patrick O'Brian", by WL Webb, The Guardian, 8 January
- "Patrick O'Brian Dies: Wrote Series On Napoleonic Era", by Richard Pearson, The Washington Post, 8 January
- "FINAL PASSAGE: Why naval storyteller appeals", by Jan Dalley, The Financial Times of London, 8 January, (no longer available - use FT.com search)
- "Author Patrick O'Brian: He brought a long-forgotten world to life.",Opinion, The Philadelphia Inquirer, 8 January
- "Patrick O'Brian; British Master of the High-Seas Adventure Novel", by John Balzar, The Los Angeles Times, 8 January
- "Sea-novel author O'Brian dies", by Mary Ann Gwinn, The Seattle Times, 8 January
- "O'Brian's blue horizon", Editorial, 8 January
- The Boston Globe
- "An 18th-century-mystery man: His compelling adventure tales made history live", by David Mehegan, 8 January
- "A BOSTON GLOBE EDITORIAL: Patrick O'Brian", 8 January
- "Patrick O'Brian - An Austen of the Deep: Aubrey-Maturin tales explored friendship", by Jon Carroll, The San Francisco Chronicle, 10 January
- "O'Brian civilized the sea tale", by Charles Memminger, Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 10 January
- "In Memoriam: Patrick O'Brian - Interview with Richard Snow", by Elizabeth Farnsworth, PBS - The News Hour, 10 January
- "Editor Adrienne Hurst remembers Patrick O'Brian", !Indigo.ca, 11 January
- "Patrick O'Brian: Which I'm missin' him already, ain't I?", by Kim Ode, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, 11 January
- "Appreciation: Patrick O'Brian", by Ian Williams, Salon.com, 12 January
- "Patrick O’Brian, captain of the sea story, died on January 2nd, aged 85", Obituary, The Economist, posted 14 January (Issue Jan. 15th - 21st - requires subscription)
. . .
W. W. Norton Resources
- Patrick O'Brian Home Page.
- About Patrick O'Brian - a brief biography, including the story of how Norton came to publish his work.
- Books by Patrick O'Brian
- The Cover Art - beautiful scanned images of all the O'Brian novels (UK HarperCollins editions) by Lawrence Edwards
- The last novel in the series, published in 1999: Blue at the Mizzen
- - The Hundred Days
- Read the first chapter.
- Receipts from THD by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas
- "The Longest Voyage" by Jessica Mann of the Daily Telegraph (9 August 1998)
- The New York Times Review of Books
- in which O'Brian is the featured author this week.
- review of THD "Naval Gazing" by Paul Kennedy (18 October 1998)
- an interview "The Seas of Adventure Still Beckon a Storyteller" with Frank J. Prial (19 October 1998)
- The Washington Post
- "Sailing Into the Twilight" a review by Bob Thompson (18 October 1998)
- An article by Kenneth Ringle noting recent interest in sea stories.
- A letter in response.
- The Philadelphia Inquirer (18 October 1998)
- "Europe's Fate Rides the High Seas" in The San Francisco Chronicle (18 October 1998)
- "The Patrick O'Brian Newsletter".
- Patrick O'Brian on...
- line! - an online chat with POB moderated by Richard Snow of the New York Times.
- How he came to write about the sea.
- Tending his vineyard.
- Recollections of America.
- Thoughts on Pudding.
- Success in His Time - "Just a Phase I'm going Through?"
- The United States, 1995 - includes the cab ride from D.C. to Charleston, South Carolina ("Where him?")
- The entire first chapter from The Commodore
- An excerpt from the first chapter of The Yellow Admiral.
- Backgrounders on...
- Plum Duff.
- Female fans of O'Brian.
- Raking fire.
- The Press Gang.
- A Glossary of Useful Terms
- Readers questions answered...
- reading order, companion books
- "voyol", Aubrey's many-ship career, blue admirals
- Liberties of the Savoy, Maturin's education, livings, chronometry
- "gackle", "marthambles", colored admirals
- Press notice
- News articles and book reviews from The New York Times
- Excerpts of early reviews in The Patrick O'Brian Newsletter, Vol. I, Issue 1 - August 1992
- A review, "A Test of Your Sea Legs", of The Yellow Admiral by Jonathan Yardley of The Washington Post.
- A review of The Yellow Admiral by Caroline Moore of The Electronic Telegraph of London.
- An interview with Patrick O'Brian with Jessica Mann of The Electronic Telegraph of London.
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
- The Gunroom internet mailing list.
- The Official Gunroom Burgee created and executed by Lisa Grossman.
- A searchable archive of postings to the Gunroom by Michael Trick.
- The Articles of Mail - an unofficial guide to Gunroom netiquette by Gibbons Burke
- A map showing the whereabouts of world-wide Gunroom denizens or listswains by Helen Webb.
- The real-time Gunroom chat venue (Java-enabled browsers only.)
- A Gallery of Notable Listswains on exhibit at the Janus Museum's Geocities wing.
- The Searoom-L internet mailing list. All about wooden sailing vessels, sailors, and books.
- Books written by Patrick O'Brian published by W. W. Norton.
- Companion Material
- Men of War: Life in Nelson's Navy - an O'Brian companion to his sea novels.
- The Wooden World: An Anatomy of the Georgian Navy by N. A. M. Rodger.
- Lobscouse and Spotted Dog: Which It's a Gastronomic Companion to the Aubrey/Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian by Anne Chotzinoff Grossman and Lisa Grossman Thomas.
- Photos from the famous Shore Party, a gathering of listswains and significant others featuring food from the Series.
- A "Ahoy there, Meaties!" - a review by Ken Ringle of The Washington Post.
- A review in the New York Times.
- Hear a Thanksgiving Day interview with authoresses Grossman and Thomas on National Public Radio with Alex Chadwick.
- Musical Evenings with the Captain - a two CD set, Volume I and II. Music from the series performed by Philharmonia Virtuosi published by ESS.A.Y Recordings.
- Harbors and High Seas - An Atlas and Geographical Guide to the Aubrey-Maturin Novels of Patrick O'Brian by Dean King with John B. Hattendorf (published by Henry Holt & Co.)
- Photos of Patrick O'Brian
The Age of Fighting Sail
- The Chronology of the Age of Fighting Sail by Ed Youngstrom
- The Maritime History Virtual Archives - excellent and comprehensive.
- Another Maritime History page - all about privateers & Letters of Marque, British Admiralty Prize Courts, and piracy.
- A brief official history of The Royal Navy.
- The Articles of War of 1749 - holy writ aboard Royal Navy ships
- The protocol for resolving matters of honor between gentleman is described in the Code Duello as originally posted to Searoom-L by the late Kenneth Stickney.
- Lyrics and audio for "Roast Beef of Old England" from The Janus Museum (Allan Janus, director). Includes digital audio recordings of 10 and 12 lb. cannon fire!
- A not-so-brief official historical site of the United States Navy.
- Links to maritime sites at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich.
- The Mystic Seaport web page.
- A comprehensive list of Nautical Literature compiled by John Kohnen.
- The Letters of Marque, a non-fiction nautical bibliograpy by Iain Rowan
- A collection of Non-fiction Books on the Age of Fighting Sail by Stuart Wier
- The Nautical Literature Page and paean to Horatio Nelson by Anthony Vogl.
- Longitude and the Académie Royale - a history of mankind's attempt to know where it's at.
- Lost at Sea by Dava Sobel, author of Longitude, the fascinating story of clock maker John Harrison and his life-long quest to make a sea-going clock accurate enough to fix a sailor's longitude. Includes illustrations that should have been in the book.
- The C.S. Forrester - Horatio Hornblower web site.
- Sounds of bosun's calls, drums beating to quarters, and canon fire on exhibit at The Janus Museum.
- All Hands About Ship! - a modern gloss on Dana's explanation of the tacking evolution aboard a square rigger by Al Placette.
- Justin T. Broderick has created a wonderful site detailing the history of US and Royal Navy regalia:
The Cast of Characters
- Jack Aubrey's pre-series career compiled by Richard S. Ellis
- Bruce Trinque held a contest to design a coat of arms for Jack Aubrey. The winning entry, which beautifully and elegantly represents many facets of Jack's character, was created by Jane Skinner.
- Stephen Maturin's biography by Liz Bezera
- Why Stephen Maturin is a perfect spy, according to U.S. News & World Report.
- The Character Index - an index of characters mentioned in the Series compiled by members of the Gunroom and maintained by Steve Turley and David Leavenworth
- The Casting Thread - listswain suggestions for actors (living and dead) to play roles in a movie based on the Series compiled by Gibbons Burke.
- Careers of Napoleonic Sailors - profiles of several fictional characters including Aubrey, Maturin, Hornblower, and others by Mitchell Schwartz
- Lord Admiral Horatio Nelson
- Encyclopedia Britannica: Nelson, Horatio Nelson, Viscount
- The Nelson Site
- A biography.
- Origin of the phrase "Tapping the Admiral".
- A capsule description of Nelson
- Letters and dispatches and more.
- A CD-ROM, "Nelson and his Navy".
- The Napoleon Series - an electronic magazine about Napoleon and his times. Great set of links. The Napoleon Foundation hosts a site devoted to the French Emperor.
- A graphic by Charles Joseph Minard showing Napoleon's 1812 Campaign into Russia featured in Tufte.
- The papers of Sir Joseph Banks hosted by the State Library of New South Wales, Australia.
- A portrait of " A True British Tar".
- A time line relating fictional events in the Aubrey-Maturin series to actual historical events by Don Seltzer
- A Guide for the Perplexed - a dictionary of non-English words and phrases found in the Series translated by David Bird, Dr Anthony Gary Brown and Anna Ravano
- A listing of musical pieces mentioned in the series collected by a host of contributors, compiled by Paul Murphy and Gibbons Burke.
- A Patrick O'Brian essay on the subject of music in Aubrey and Maturin's day.
- A listing of common phrases of nautical origin, as explained by listswains and characters in the canon compiled by Gibbons Burke.
- John Vickerman's excellent Lapsii Linguae: Mixed Metaphors, Malaprops, Mistranslations, Misunderstandings, and Mild Jokes From the Aubrey-Maturin Novels by Patrick O'Brian.
- A parody of O'Brian's writing on Slate.
- PO'B Mornington Crescent - A collection of short pieces in imitation of Patrick O'Brian created in a game of collaboration.
- A map of HMS Sophie's voyage in Master and Commander by Warren Campbell.
- An illustrated account of the battle between Aubrey and French Admiral Linois in Master and Commander edited and detailed by C. F. Keller.
- A log of HMS Leopard's voyage in Desolation Island by Warren Campbell.
- An illustrated description of The Fight between Surprise and two Turkish Ships from The Ionian Mission edited and detailed by C. F. Keller.
- A map of An Unexpected Round Trip from Harbors and High Seas by Dean King. This map illustrates an episode from The Thirteen Gun Salute.
- A detailed, illustrated account of the exciting chase around Cape Horn described in The Wine Dark Sea compiled by C. F. Keller.
Ships and Ship Images
- The Marine Art Information Center - an omnibus site
- Marine Prints by Tony Fernandes - excellent prints of tall ships
- Marine paintings and drawings at the Peabody Essex Museum.
- An annotated photograph of a model of a frigate similar to HMS Surprise from O'Brian's Men-Of-War.
- Paintings by marine artist Geoff Hunt which adorn the covers of O'Brian's seafaring novels. Of Hunt's work, Patrick O'Brian wrote:Another thing that quite certainly [contributed to the success of the Series] was Collins's brilliant choice of a marine artist for the jacket. Geoff Hunt's pictures, perfectly accurate in period and detail, but very far from merely representational, often suffused with a light reminiscent of Canaletto, are both close to the text and infinitely remote from the wenches lashed to the mast, their bosoms in disarray, that must so often deter any man or woman looking for adult reading-matter.
- Cover of The Golden Ocean, O'Brian's first, and funniest, novel of the sea.
- Cover of The Unknown Shore
- Cover of The Truelove or Clarissa Oakes showing HMS Surprise hove to.
- Cover of The Commodore showing Aubrey's squadron in midst of wearing ship from starboard to larboard jibe. Bellona, in the van, has completed her evolution; the second ship is dousing her leeward stuns'ls, and the two ships bringing up the rear have not yet begun to alter course.
- Cover of The Yellow Admiral showing HMS Bellona. A pre-publication shot of the cover found on the Norton web page sported an entirely different painting.
- Cover and description of The Hundred Days - the forthcoming nineteenth novel in the series available 28 September 1998.
- The Surprise - a pub in Chelsea named after a French frigate.
- U.S.S. Constitution - help her sail in July!
- U.S.S. Constellation - help restore her to her former glory!
- Historic Portsmouth Ships
- HMS Victory - Nelson's flagship and its crew demographics.
- Travels with the Rose - great photos from a working tall ship.
- Star of India - San Diego Maritime Museum
- The amazing Schoonerman Schooner & Tall Ship page by Schoonerman (Van Oosterhaut)
- The Endeavor
- Boat pictures by John Kohnen.
- An illustrated critique of Turner's "The Fighting Temeraire" by John Ruskin
- A key to the signal flags.
Gibbons Burke's Home Page