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Side Reads Post Captain > General Comments

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message 1: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
I am excited about joining in the read, but I will be unable to join until next week. I have had a little unexpected work sent my way (hurray) so I have to spend some time on that. I will join you soon -- have fun in the meantime.


message 2: by Alicia (new)

Alicia I happened to come across a useful book--it was on display at the library yesterday. The Mutiny on the Bounty, a children's book written and illustrated by Patrick O'Brien. The author's name caught my attention, as well as the picture of the sailing ship on the cover. But the author is not the same as the one whose books we are reading. It has simple descriptions and watercolor illustrations of life on board a ship. I was also intereted in it because it is about Captain Bligh, who was mentioned in the miniseries Mary Bryant, which I watched last week on the recommendation of members of this group.


message 3: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Last week I had a sudden irresistable urge to reread Mansfield Park. (It was triggered by a discussion in this group of movie adaptations of the book.) Reading and discussing the O'Brian books gave me new understanding of Mansfield Park. I understood much more what Sir Thomas and Tom would have experienced in their journey to Antigua, especially the dangers they would have faced, why it was remarkable that their family had little concern for their safety, and why the time of their return was so uncertain. I also understand much better what William Price's life was like, why he felt the way he did about the possibility of his promotion, and how that promotion came about. I was able to better imagine the city of Portsmouth and able to understand the comings and goings of the Thrush and the preparations for William and Sam.

Thanks, Chris, for prodding us into this project, and thanks to everyone who is participating in it.


message 4: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I agree Alicia! I didn't understand the concept of 'prizes' and how Captain Wentworth in Persuasion could have acquired so much wealth so quickly, but reading Master and Commander has really helped to clarify my foggy understanding of the British Navy in 19th century. Entertaining and informative :)


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I can finally get started with Post Captain now, having finished my sci-fi novel.


message 6: by SarahC, Austen Votary & Mods' Asst. (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1473 comments Mod
It sounds like we are all running a little late in joining this discussion. I will be several more days joining you myself, but still looking forward to it all.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) I have to really agree with Joy's comment too. Reading O'Brian really opened my eyes when I went back and re-read Austen's novels; especially "Mansfield Park" and "Persuasion." It also made my reading Elizabeth Gaskell's "Sylvia's Lovers" much more meaningful too.


message 8: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I am having the hardest time getting through Post Captain. I think it has more to do with what is going on in my life right now, but it is taking me forever to read this book. I am only half-way through, but I am going to try and make a dent in the last 250 pages today. I hope :)


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Joy wrote: "I am having the hardest time getting through Post Captain. I think it has more to do with what is going on in my life right now, but it is taking me forever to read this book. I am only half-way th..."

Okay, you've inspired me to get back to the book! :)


message 10: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Are you being sarcastic? My comments didn't seem very inspiring :)


message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Joy wrote: "Are you being sarcastic? My comments didn't seem very inspiring :)"

No sarcasm intended. *seriously* I only read part of chapter one, so, if you are going to start back, so will I.

(I use ;) or xp to demote sarcasm, typically, or maybe italics. Electronic communication is far from perfect.)


message 12: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Don't I know it! I am usually being sarcastic, so as it is my 'default setting' of sorts my initial interpretation is typically slanted that way.

I have to use an excessive amount of "!" and ";)" to try and not be offensive as much as possible :) (see!)

And I have been reading this book since July 3, but I have read like 3 pages a day so it is taking me for.ev.er.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

I hit the doldrums (it's a nautical term) with Post Captain. I am waiting on a book from the library, too, and nothing was clicking for me. So I read 3 new manga volumes and 2 new (for me) detective stories. I think now I can begin Aubrey again in earnest. It doesn't help that I know what happens in the books, either. :(


message 14: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) No kidding, that definitely makes it harder to get into!


message 15: by [deleted user] (new)

Joy wrote: "No kidding, that definitely makes it harder to get into!"

My husband read all of the good bits out loud, because I had no intention of reading the series. Still, I did enjoy Master & Commander, in spite of this. :)


message 16: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Why does Stephen have the need to self-medicate with laudanum? He doesn't necessarily seem to be physically addicted because he actively chooses to take it and decides on a proper amount, however, he does appear to have an emotional or psychological reliance upon it.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Joy wrote: "Why does Stephen have the need to self-medicate with laudanum? He doesn't necessarily seem to be physically addicted because he actively chooses to take it and decides on a proper amount, however, ..."

Like most people with issues (some have more than others too), Stephen has his own set. Stephen, while incredibly intelligent and intellectual, cannot simply let himself go and just heartily enjoy life the way that his friend Jack can. They are as different as night and day. I think that Stephen's addiction to laudanum is partly a desire to be able to retreat into the peace and quiet (and security) of an internal world of his own making. Being a doctor he is able to self-medicate; although, were you read the entire series, you would discover that there are profound consequences to this as well. He is, in my opinion, most certainly psychologically and physically dependent upon the opium. Good observation and question, Joy; and I hope that my answer makes some sense.


message 18: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) Well said Chris, and yes, that does make a lot of sense to me. The nature of laudanum and the effects it has on a person seem to go beyond a retreat into an internal quiet that Stephen needs. Instead, it indicates a need to escape, to get away from even his own thoughts. Through this opiate, Stephen is able to not only shut out the noise and confusion of the world, but also to dull his own senses and mind. There is a sense of some concealed oppression that Stephen is under (perhaps related to political, religious, or personal conflicts from his past), from which he seeks solace. I can certainly see how his dependence on this mode of escape will lead to further problems for Stephen!


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Joy wrote: "Well said Chris, and yes, that does make a lot of sense to me. The nature of laudanum and the effects it has on a person seem to go beyond a retreat into an internal quiet that Stephen needs. Inste..."

Joy, you have very accurately identified the biggest stressors in Stephen's life--politics, religion, and his personal issues (e.g., romance, etc.)


message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Jul 18, 2010 07:41PM) (new)

Stephen and his laudanum make for some very interesting problems, one of my favorite episodes in the books. His romantic problems always annoyed me. I don't know if he is just very unsure of himself, or if there is a deeper issue there.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Jeannette wrote: "Stephen and his laudanum make for some very interesting problems, one of my favorite episodes in the books. His romantic problems always annoyed me. I don't know if he is just very unsure of hims..."

Both, Jeannette, to a large degree both! He is unsure of himself around Diana, but what man wouldn't be around Diana Villiers? He is, as Jack would say, "A deep old file," an intellect very set in his own ways, and probably tends to think on things a bit more than is necessary.


message 22: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I have assumed that there is a deeper issue, that there is some tragic experience that he can't let go of or get over, so his relationships don't go past the superficial level. I suppose my assumption stems from the ambiguity of his romantic past. If there was nothing to hide (or that he is hiding from), why wouldn't he share it? However, as a 21st century woman, I certainly have different perspectives on sharing one's personal/romantic past than an 19th century man.

In Post Captain, he thinks (almost plots) about how Diana's decreasing fortune and advancing age could lead to her seeing him as an acceptable mate, so this could be an indication that he is willing to be in a serious relationship. Although, making plans or having expectations of a woman like Diana is actually a good way to ensure that he wouldn't have to exert himself to be in a relationship of substance.


message 23: by Joy (new)

Joy (joylnorth) I am finally finished.

Towards the end of the novel, Stephen reflects on some of his own actions and emotions in regards to his relationship with Diana, and ponders: "Can you create a unicorn by longing?" (p. 472 Norton paperback edition).

This question struck me, as it is a very poignant and pointed question. To me, it expresses a sadness in Stephen that has remained hidden. We catch a glimpse of his hurt for a moment, and then his intellectually sterile exterior quickly closes back over his wound and he is once again Dr. Manturin.


Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.) (captain_sir_roddy) Joy wrote: "I am finally finished.

Towards the end of the novel, Stephen reflects on some of his own actions and emotions in regards to his relationship with Diana, and ponders: "Can you create a unicorn by l..."


Well put, Joy, very well put.


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