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"The dark side of Mr. Hornblower" Topic

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Tango0101 Aug 2017 12:15 p.m. PST

"The story is covering the period from May 1800 through March 1803. We are on board the battle ship Her Majesty's Ship Renown, a 74-gun line-ship under the command of Captain Sawyer. The first lieutenant is Mr. Buckland. Mr. Bush, the longtime friend and shipmate, is the 3rd lieutenant. Our friend Hornblower is the junior lieutenant. We do not know the mission at the beginning, but later we get informed the mission is Santo Domingo, or Haiti, or Hispaniola, an island which is held by the Spanish in the West Indies at that time.

Soon, we realize as a reader, that there is a problem with the Captain. We do not know exactly the medical diagnosis but the Captain's behavior appears strange, at least he may suffer from a borderline personality or some type of paranoia. The book Lieutenant Hornblower was first published in the year 1952. In the same year, another famous book has been published, The Caine Mutiny written by the Pulitzer Price winner Herman Wouk. His character, the lieutenant commander Philip Francis Quegg, was in charge of the destroyer minesweeper U.S.S. Caine. In contrast to Commander Quegg, Captain Sawyer did torment his officers, at least he threatened in public his officers.

Already in paragraph 4 we are on page 36 some conspiratorial goings on. In the pitch dark below, the officers of the Renown except lieutenant Smith on watch hold a mutinous assembly, something very dangerous as our author Forester noted, they could all hang for what they were doing. Suddenly, the volunteer Wellard appeared, and warned of the captain. Immediately,they all split up, not wasting any time. Hornblower together with Wellard left this darkness, as Mr. Bush witnessed…."
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Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2017 11:28 p.m. PST

Everyone knows that Hirnblower shoved the Captain "down the stairs" (forgive the lubberly phrase), smashing his head against the something-domething.
Forester admitted it much later. Or was it Parkinson's?

arthur181502 Aug 2017 2:05 a.m. PST

It was C Northcote Parkinson's Life of Hornblower, which Forester (IIRC) never contradicted.

Andrew Preziosi Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 3:48 a.m. PST

Correct, Parkinson…but the above essay did point out a few things that had escaped earlier scrutiny.

Tango0102 Aug 2017 10:31 a.m. PST

Glad you enjoyed it my friend!. (smile)


Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 11:14 a.m. PST

A question about which I thought much when I read the book many years ago. Always felt it was Hornblower but this commentary makes sense.

Personal logo ColCampbell Supporting Member of TMP02 Aug 2017 12:15 p.m. PST

Ever since I first read the story, I've always presumed Hornblower took matters into his own hands, so to speak.


Tango0102 Aug 2017 10:23 p.m. PST

So… our heroe was a murder… (smile)


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