The History Book Club discussion

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NAPOLEONIC WARS > 11. HF - POST CAPTAIN - CHAPTER 12 (385 - 431) (01/11/11 - 01/16/11) ~ No spoilers, please

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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 10, 2011 02:06PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Hello Everyone,

Welcome to the historical fiction discussion of POST CAPTAIN
by Patrick O'Brian.

This is the reading assignment for week eleven - (January 10, 2011 to January 16, 2011)

Week Eleven - January 11 - January 16 - Chapter 12 - p. 385-431


This is the fourth historical fiction group selected book.

We will open up a thread for each week's reading. Please make sure to post in the particular thread dedicated to those specific chapters and page numbers to avoid spoilers if you are catching up.

This book was kicked off on November 1st.

This discussion is being led by assisting moderator - Christopher. During the discussion of Master and Commander, Christopher volunteered to steer us through the second book in the series. Please support him in this effort.

We always enjoy the participation of all group members. Amazon, Barnes and Noble and other noted on line booksellers do have copies of the book and shipment can be expedited. The book can also be obtained easily at your local library, and may be available on Kindle or audible.

This thread opens up today January 10th for discussion. This is a non spoiler thread.

Welcome,

~Bentley


TO ALWAYS SEE ALL WEEKS' THREADS SELECT VIEW ALL

Post Captain (Aubrey/Maturin, #2) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian

Please feel free to research the complete Table of Contents and Syllabus on this thread and to see which version Christopher is using.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/4...

Post Captain is the second book in the series and comes after Master and Commander.

Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian


message 2: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
It is probably here that it is a good idea to discuss the terminology of "post captain".

Bookrags had this explanation:

Post captain is an archaic term once used in the British Navy to distinguish an actual rank from an acting position—that is, a ranked commander in command of a ship was still referred to as a captain even though his rank was commander. A post captain, conversely, was of the rank of captain. Further promotion from post captain was automatic and based solely on seniority—thus a post captain could reach a rank of admiral simply by outliving enough senior post captains. The term 'post' captain probably was used because captains assigned a vessel were gazetted, or 'posted', in the Naval Gazette. Ships assigned to post captains were of necessity 'post' ships, or rated vessels. Thus, once Aubrey is made post captain he is not offered the Fanciulla as it is a sloop—not a rated vessel. On the other hand, Parker is promoted from lieutenant to commander and is awarded command of the sloop; he is referred to as a captain but is not a post captain. This confusion between possible meanings of 'captain' is treated early in the novel when Admiral Haddock explains to Mrs. Williams that Captain Aubrey is a commander and not a captain but can nevertheless be properly referred to as captain.


message 3: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
There is a terribly funny incident with Maturin and bees; what thematic or figurative meaning could this situation and the bees have at this point in the book?


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

After all the conflict of the book so far, Chapter 12 represents an almost boring utopia for Jack as a post-captain and temporary captain of the Lively. What do you think? Is it a contrast to what has gone before, or in line with it?

Jack's utopia, however, is also a prison. At the end of the chapter, he is clearly still desperately unhappy and insists he will never go ashore again if he can avoid it. Any doubt that he is through with Diana Villiers is dispelled here. Is Jack happy as the acting captain of the Lively, or merely putting at arm's length parts of his life he cannot deal with, namely, his love for Sophie and his creditors? Incidentally, when Jack holds forth about the inappropriateness of women aboard ship, is he talking about anyone specific? Diana? Sophie?

It is interesting that the beginning of the resolution of so many conflicts in the book comes as a result of violence, i.e., the Polychrest's cutting out the Fanciulla. What do you think O'Brian is trying to say? I really thought the cutting out expediction served as a break in the conflict among characters, but propelled our heroes into Chapter 12 in an artificially conflict free world of the Livelies. The ship almost operates itself, no discord, and most of all, no practice with warfare. Do you think this situation can last?

Bentley makes an interesting point about the bees, and makes me think of something about this book I never realized. Both Sophie and Jack (in this chapter, p.410) tell Stephen he has a talent for concealing his talents. I had never really thought about that, but now I think the bees are Stephen's way of covering up his talents. The bees function to divert the Lively's crew's attention away from his admitted brilliance as a physician and think of him as a sort of silly, indulgent person. What do you think? Is it Stephen's nature to denigrate himself or is this just a ploy to keep everyone from ever thinking he is an intelligence agent?

Please feel free to comment on these or any other aspect of the book you find interesting.


message 5: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
That is interesting - if they think that Stephen is not as brilliant as he really is (just a bumbling eccentric); nobody would ever think of him as being an intelligent agent - great cover.


message 6: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
You know Christopher - this book is great fun and I wonder why we do not have more people joining in.


message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Good point. I know I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I didn't care much for this book back when I read all the books in the series. Now that I'm really digging into it, it's really a great book.

Do you think our posts are too complex, and therefore putting people off? Or not complex enough?

It's also possible O'Brian may not be as popular as he used to be. Like, before he died. Dying can really put a damper on your career.


message 8: by Garret (new)

Garret (ggannuch) There have been a few articles I've seen talking about how much MORE popular this series became after his death.

I don't think the posts are too complex.

I like this book as well but I do not think it lends itself to the same kinds of conversations that we usually see in this club. And I wonder if reading this over the holiday season contributed as well.

I think the amount of posts will pick up with the next book in the series.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Interesting, I haven't been following O'Brian much online. I did when I was reading all the books.

Just curious, since this is the only conversation I have participated in, what sort of conversations do you have in this club that we are not having with this book?


message 10: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Good point. I know I mentioned this in an earlier post, but I didn't care much for this book back when I read all the books in the series. Now that I'm really digging into it, it's really a great b..."

Garret makes a great point but this is one terrific series.


message 11: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 11, 2011 07:41PM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Interesting, I haven't been following O'Brian much online. I did when I was reading all the books.

Just curious, since this is the only conversation I have participated in, what sort of conversa..."


There usually are a lot more readers actually reading the book; more views; more conversation, more posts from a variety of folks who at least post once. Thank you Garret for jumping in.

Did you participate in the previous book that Elizabeth S moderated? Also, Garret does point out the holiday season may have contributed to the situation; but don't feel bad; I have enjoyed it.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Another thing I thought is that this book represents a bit of a change from Master and Commander. Master and Commander is, at least superficially, a naval adventure book. It has almost all male characters.

In Post Captain, much of the early part is on land, and it focusses on our heroes travails with women in contemporary society. It's sort of like a much harder edged Jane Austen.

So, if you read Master and Commander and you picked up Post Captain thinking you'd get more of the same, you'd get it, eventually, but you'd have to wade through several hundred pages of a different kind of drama to get there.


message 13: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (last edited Jan 12, 2011 06:34AM) (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
For sure, you make some good points. You do not have to add the Post Captain citation because this is a discussion about that book and it is also added in the first post; but the Master and Commander one should be since this is a citation about a previous book discussion.

Some folks who want strictly to be discussing naval action would probably feel that this book does not follow that same formula; but I found that there were elements of this book which seem to get to the atmosphere and environment of the society at that time, living conditions, familial interactions and the more personal side of relationships and even the friendship of Maturin and Aubrey. All of this I think adds more of a backdrop to the readers' understanding the different facets of characterization as we move on to the other books in the series.

Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian


message 14: by Garret (new)

Garret (ggannuch) I agree Christopher it is more of a character study than an adventure story. Still I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to the next one.


message 15: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Garret, glad that you were with us in the reading of this book.


message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I always thought the next one, H.M.S. Surprise, was one of the best. After reading Post Captain as carefully as I have for this discussion, Post Captain is a great one as well, just in a different way.


message 17: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Very true Christopher. I hope you will continue with moderating the series after this book; because I think going through the series is a huge accomplishment and very pleasurable. I think at least you have me and Garret with you for this book.


message 18: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks. Hopefully we can get a few more in on the discussion. Should we try jokes?


message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

Another thought comes to mind to those who may be viewing but not commenting.

You do NOT have to have read the prior book in order to enjoy or even 'get' the next one. My feeling is the first few books in the series especially stand on their own, magnificently I might add.

So, Master and Commander, Post Captain, H.M.S. Surprise, read any, read all, their still great.


message 20: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Thanks. Hopefully we can get a few more in on the discussion. Should we try jokes?"

Very funny.


message 21: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 44207 comments Mod
Christopher wrote: "Another thought comes to mind to those who may be viewing but not commenting.

You do NOT have to have read the prior book in order to enjoy or even 'get' the next one. My feeling is the first f..."


Don't forget the citations (smile) -

Master and Commander (Aubrey/Maturin, #1) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian

H.M.S. 'Surprise' (Aubrey/Maturin Book 3) by Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian Patrick O'Brian


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