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Notahippie
Feb 4, 2003

Kids, it's not cool to have Shane MacGowan teeth

Raskolnikov2089 posted:

I always pick a random book from the series for when I take a beach trip. The sound of the waves and smell of the salt air really adds to the enjoyment. Plus they're short enough that I can finish them fairly quickly and not spend the entire vacation with my nose in a book.

How the hell did O'Brian get so much done with so few words?

He's a master at "show, don't tell" to the point where key information about characters is often communicated through what they don't say or some casual remark that illustrates their character in just one or two comments. I think it can frustrate some readers but I personally love it. William Gibson does something similar.

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builds character
Jan 16, 2008

Keep at it.


Notahippie posted:

He's a master at "show, don't tell" to the point where key information about characters is often communicated through what they don't say or some casual remark that illustrates their character in just one or two comments. I think it can frustrate some readers but I personally love it. William Gibson does something similar.

I love it too and, going back to hornblower chat too, I haven't found anything that scratches quite the same itch. There are other books that are also good and I enjoy (and I read a couple of the hornblowers and they were fine books) but nothing I love in the same way as these.

ChubbyChecker
Mar 25, 2018



builds character posted:

I love it too and, going back to hornblower chat too, I haven't found anything that scratches quite the same itch. There are other books that are also good and I enjoy (and I read a couple of the hornblowers and they were fine books) but nothing I love in the same way as these.

absolutely same

i read some bolithos too: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Bolitho_novels

i've tried chasing the same high but nothing really compares

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


Diana is so MEAN

I understand that she's bitter and insecure

But she's consciously hurtful all the time, it's kind of her go to move

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


There are a lot more sex jokes in Post Captain than I remember.

And on my first reading of this book I was confused about the history of Jack and Diana's affair but Jack summarizes the whole thing to Christie-Pelliere so I guess I just wasn't paying attention.

Genghis Cohen
Jun 29, 2013


Arglebargle III posted:

There are a lot more sex jokes in Post Captain than I remember.

And on my first reading of this book I was confused about the history of Jack and Diana's affair but Jack summarizes the whole thing to Christie-Pelliere so I guess I just wasn't paying attention.

I kind of agree with you about the course of their sort-of-love-triangle. It's not like a conventional marriage plot novel where characters' desires are dwelt on at length. You kind of don't know exactly how serious it's gotten until they catch up at a later time and discuss the emotional effect on themselves.

Neophyte
Apr 23, 2006

perennially

Taco Defender

Also the actual, uh, "actions" aren't really explicitly in the text, like when Jack comes back smelling like the perfume Stephen gave Diana. If you're a first time reader or are just sort of skimming along you might not get that this wasn't just due to a very long hug.

A lot of stuff happens offscreen in these books that O'Brian only alludes to or briefly mentions and it's the after-effects that's the actual story.

Mr. Mambold
Feb 13, 2011

Aha. Nice post.





Arglebargle III posted:

Diana is so MEAN

I understand that she's bitter and insecure

But she's consciously hurtful all the time, it's kind of her go to move

She's a bright, shining diva
Bold, rich men chased her,
but she fell for homely Steve-ah
Oh-ho-ho-ho-ho-ho...

Notahippie
Feb 4, 2003

Kids, it's not cool to have Shane MacGowan teeth

Neophyte posted:

Also the actual, uh, "actions" aren't really explicitly in the text, like when Jack comes back smelling like the perfume Stephen gave Diana. If you're a first time reader or are just sort of skimming along you might not get that this wasn't just due to a very long hug.

A lot of stuff happens offscreen in these books that O'Brian only alludes to or briefly mentions and it's the after-effects that's the actual story.

To this day I'm not sure when Stephen and Diana first slept together. I go back and forth on whether she was sleeping with both him and Jack early on (based on something she says along the lines of "don't think that just because I'm bored and allow you to trifle with me that you can take liberties") or whether they never actually slept together until after they get married just because Stephen never seems to be particularly focused on the physical aspects of their relationship.

Genghis Cohen
Jun 29, 2013


Notahippie posted:

To this day I'm not sure when Stephen and Diana first slept together. I go back and forth on whether she was sleeping with both him and Jack early on (based on something she says along the lines of "don't think that just because I'm bored and allow you to trifle with me that you can take liberties") or whether they never actually slept together until after they get married just because Stephen never seems to be particularly focused on the physical aspects of their relationship.

I also am very stumped by this and by the exact extent of Jack and Diana's involvement. Smelling of her perfume is certainly very evocative of betrayal, but it hardly means they were definitely shagging!

I am inclined to believe that Jack never enjoyed Diana's favours to the full extent. Just because it's not brought up as THAT awkward when they're all two big relatively OK happy families later and Diana and Sophie are fairly chill.

Similarly, I doubt Maturin got anywhere until they were married. He just seems not the sort to push it, and as he reflects at one point in their marriage, as an opium addict he had diminished libido at that point.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


You can infer that Jack and Diana first had sex before he and Stephen left England for France in late 1802/early 1803. He tells Christy-Pelliere that one thing led to another and as a consequence he was "bound to her in honor" or something like that. I think it's pretty clear what that means.

In fact I think you can place it fairly exactly in the book, since Jack visits Diana in the ~2 week period between his prize agent running away, Sophia being removed to Bath, and Aubrey fleeing for France. This also makes sense emotionally as Jack thinks Sophie has dumped him at this point.

What I want to know is how Diana avoided getting pregnant, as she seems to have been regularly sleeping with at least three men between 1803 and 1812.

Also, I think there's at least one and possibly two points in Post-Captain when Diana makes a pass at Stephen and he ignores her cues. The "come look at my butterfly collection late at night" invitation was particularly transparent. Diana is inviting a bachelor into her bedroom which is scandalous enough for a woman of property at the time, but even she can't just go "so uh are we gonna gently caress or what?" in Georgian society.

Arglebargle III fucked around with this message at 22:08 on May 17, 2021

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


It's not something I'm well versed on but presumably the Napoleonic era had its own forms of contraceptives/birth control. Obv nothing as effective as modern methods but maybe she just got lucky. And I forget which book this is from but doesn't Diana approach Stephen about terminating a pregnancy before they're married because Johnson/Johnstone is the father? Iirc she miscarries or it's a false pregnancy or something so it's moot but it does come up at least one.

Notahippie
Feb 4, 2003

Kids, it's not cool to have Shane MacGowan teeth

Arglebargle III posted:

You can infer that Jack and Diana first had sex before he and Stephen left England for France in late 1802/early 1803. He tells Christy-Pelliere that one thing led to another and as a consequence he was "bound to her in honor" or something like that. I think it's pretty clear what that means.

In fact I think you can place it fairly exactly in the book, since Jack visits Diana in the ~2 week period between his prize agent running away, Sophia being removed to Bath, and Aubrey fleeing for France. This also makes sense emotionally as Jack thinks Sophie has dumped him at this point.

What I want to know is how Diana avoided getting pregnant, as she seems to have been regularly sleeping with at least three men between 1803 and 1812.

Also, I think there's at least one and possibly two points in Post-Captain when Diana makes a pass at Stephen and he ignores her cues. The "come look at my butterfly collection late at night" invitation was particularly transparent. Diana is inviting a bachelor into her bedroom which is scandalous enough for a woman of property at the time, but even she can't just go "so uh are we gonna gently caress or what?" in Georgian society.

I agree with Jack - he's not particularly subtle and he's got that "Yardo the parish bull" aspect that makes me think he wouldn't have continued to woo her if they weren't actually sleeping together.

Stephen and Diana... I dunno. There's an even more compromising scene than the ones you mentioned where she invites him to sit at her bedside while she's in a nightgown, but that was apparently an actual thing that people did (which I assume was also cover for sex at least sometime), and in at least that case it seems from my memory like she did expect him to sit and chat. I think that's the scene where she yells at him for taking liberties, but I may be mixing things up. I think it's likely that O'Brian imagined them as sleeping together at that point, but I can also imagine it being more or less chaste given Stephen's character.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


We also get a little window into Christy-Pelliere's head, who thinks Jack is a bit of an idiot for complaining about having the affections of two young women.

Sax Solo
Feb 17, 2011





The whole topic is a fun display of clashing social assumptions, where on the one hand you assume that any woman who was alone with a man for more than a few moments was probably loving, or rather a detached idea of 'scandal' arises from the situation... On the other hand there is gentlemanly conduct, where it is incredibly uncouth and insulting to act as if anyone is ever doing anything untoward, especially when it comes to the conduct of and kindness to women. And so O'Brien can create a big cloud about it where characters can talk both like it's nothing and like it's everything, and part of the confusion is bc Stephen is grappling with the situation on these terms too.

The book doesn't even cover until after the fact how Jack is lingering around port in the Polychrest being a kind of lovely captain because he's always sneaking off to see Diana, and it might be the blatancy of that which drives Stephen to challenge him. It's too clear to everyone, and the world of gentlemanly make-believe is unsustainable.

Another element at play, maybe, is that Stephen is continually nuking his sex drive with drugs. IIRC, even after he's married to Diana, it's not until he tones down the laudanum that he's actually like regularly amorous, though I'm not sure how much this applies in the Post Captain days.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


I think what really pushes Stephen to the brink in Post-Captain is Jack pressing him on his intentions with Diana to the point where he says "any bastard can talk around the issue with flowery words" or something like that. I don't think at this point that Jack is aware Stephen is literally a bastard. Obviously this had huge social implications during this time and it would have been a huge point of honor for Stephen to stand up for himself because of it.

Goddamn Post-Captain is so good

Sax Solo
Feb 17, 2011





Yeah it's my favorite of the books I think. Some people criticize it of being derivative of Austen. I don't think it is, and to the extent it may be -- well, I like Austen too!

ChubbyChecker
Mar 25, 2018



Sax Solo posted:

Yeah it's my favorite of the books I think. Some people criticize it of being derivative of Austen. I don't think it is, and to the extent it may be -- well, I like Austen too!

in my first read through i didn't much care for it, but on the second time i kinda liked it

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


Sax Solo posted:



Another element at play, maybe, is that Stephen is continually nuking his sex drive with drugs. IIRC, even after he's married to Diana, it's not until he tones down the laudanum that he's actually like regularly amorous, though I'm not sure how much this applies in the Post Captain days.

He's up to a wine glass of laudinum a day in post captain although it's oddly absent from most of the narrative. He must be taking heroic quantities of laxatives.

Jo Joestar
Oct 24, 2013


MeatwadIsGod posted:

I think what really pushes Stephen to the brink in Post-Captain is Jack pressing him on his intentions with Diana to the point where he says "any bastard can talk around the issue with flowery words" or something like that. I don't think at this point that Jack is aware Stephen is literally a bastard. Obviously this had huge social implications during this time and it would have been a huge point of honor for Stephen to stand up for himself because of it.


Jack did know, and even sent a letter apologising for it (but very specifically that, and not anything else he said) afterwards. Naturally, this isn't enough to call off the duel.

The Lord Bude
May 23, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT MY SHITTY, BOUGIE INTERIOR DECORATING ADVICE


Arglebargle III posted:

He's up to a wine glass of laudinum a day in post captain although it's oddly absent from most of the narrative. He must be taking heroic quantities of laxatives.

Bearing in mind that wine glasses were much, much smaller back then.

Genghis Cohen
Jun 29, 2013


Jo Joestar posted:

Jack did know, and even sent a letter apologising for it (but very specifically that, and not anything else he said) afterwards. Naturally, this isn't enough to call off the duel.

I really like that interplay as an example of what we would call Jack's essentially good nature and what he commonly thinks of in the series as good breeding - gentlemanly conduct. He's still angry at Stephen as a romantic rival and unwilling to back down as a gentleman facing a duel. But he realises it was wrong to throw that word around, especially as his erstwhile friend may be sensitive to it, so as you say he specifically withdraws the word while not avoiding the wider conflict. I read it as Jack absolutely does know that much about Stephen's origins, and wanting Stephen to know that Jack didn't mean to throw it in his face in the heat of the moment, because it would be ungentlemanly to do so.

Overall one of the strongest things about these novels as historical fiction is how Jack & Stephen always maintain, as they would have to in their time, that gentlemanly restraint in their personal dealings. Even as the closest friends possible, there are certain things they just would never say to one another, certain social boundaries that aren't breached. A far cry from the average historical novel or film where everyone's crying on each other's shoulders and speaking about their feelings like 21st century therapists.

ZekeNY
Jun 13, 2013

Probably AFK

Genghis Cohen posted:

He's still angry at Stephen as a romantic rival and unwilling to back down as a gentleman facing a duel. But he realises it was wrong to throw that word around, especially as his erstwhile friend may be sensitive to it, so as you say he specifically withdraws the word while not avoiding the wider conflict. I read it as Jack absolutely does know that much about Stephen's origins, and wanting Stephen to know that Jack didn't mean to throw it in his face in the heat of the moment, because it would be ungentlemanly to do so.

Aubrey's partial apology for that remark might just be my favorite moment in the series.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


The Lord Bude posted:

Bearing in mind that wine glasses were much, much smaller back then.

As with everything in these books it's not really spelled out, but there are some scenes from Stephen's perspective where it seems like he's in an opium haze. For example when he goes to Diana's house in Dover after the cutting out of the Fanchula.

The way the narrator describes Stephen's detachment and lingers on details of the still life scene reminds me of descriptions of an opium high. He often doses himself on the page as it were to avoid painful situations but I think he may also dose himself when the reader isn't looking.

Stringent
Dec 22, 2004

The internet is the universal sewer.


Arglebargle III posted:

As with everything in these books it's not really spelled out, but there are some scenes from Stephen's perspective where it seems like he's in an opium haze. For example when he goes to Diana's house in Dover after the cutting out of the Fanchula.

The way the narrator describes Stephen's detachment and lingers on details of the still life scene reminds me of descriptions of an opium high. He often doses himself on the page as it were to avoid painful situations but I think he may also dose himself when the reader isn't looking.

That's interesting, I'd never really thought of that before.

The Lord Bude
May 23, 2007

ASK ME ABOUT MY SHITTY, BOUGIE INTERIOR DECORATING ADVICE


Oh I don't doubt he gets high as a kite, I just wanted to point out it isn't quite as much as you might have thought at first glance when reading the term 'wine glass' because a wine glass back then was maybe 1/6 of the size of a modern wine glass.

Notahippie
Feb 4, 2003

Kids, it's not cool to have Shane MacGowan teeth

Arglebargle III posted:

The way the narrator describes Stephen's detachment and lingers on details of the still life scene reminds me of descriptions of an opium high. He often doses himself on the page as it were to avoid painful situations but I think he may also dose himself when the reader isn't looking.

I think this is really likely - his tolerance suggests he's taking an absolute shitload of laudanum, much more than we see on the page, and I think we should see him as to some degree high for most of the series. It underscores things like his grumpiness in the morning and his general dispassionate approach to life. I'm not sure how much of that is him being naturally phlegmatic versus being high.

Stringent
Dec 22, 2004

The internet is the universal sewer.


the next time i read it i'm definitely going to try to correlate his grouchy episodes with his laudanum usage

Bloody Hedgehog
Dec 12, 2003

Gotta nuke something


God-drat do I have a bad laudanum addiction. Better switch to cocaine.

MeatwadIsGod
Sep 30, 2004

Behold! It is I! I bestow upon you...my dirty dipey!


Stringent posted:

the next time i read it i'm definitely going to try to correlate his grouchy episodes with his laudanum usage

Presumably he's on withdrawals in HMS Surprise while he's on the mend with posset and caudle. I initially read it as just a humorous situation where this incomparable doctor is an insufferable patient, but I tend to forget Stephen is a junkie because he's more or less in the "functioning" category.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


You know for all Mrs. Williams is an odious character, every one of her dire predictions about Jack and Sophie's marriage comes to pass.

Notahippie
Feb 4, 2003

Kids, it's not cool to have Shane MacGowan teeth

MeatwadIsGod posted:

Presumably he's on withdrawals in HMS Surprise while he's on the mend with posset and caudle. I initially read it as just a humorous situation where this incomparable doctor is an insufferable patient, but I tend to forget Stephen is a junkie because he's more or less in the "functioning" category.

The other thing I remembered is that at least two other Doctors call Stephen out for being a junkie, based just on observing him and his behavior - so he must not be hiding it all that well to people who are familiar with addiction.

Sax Solo
Feb 17, 2011





It's quite obvious, and when Martin calls him out on it Stephen goes scored earth DEAD TO ME about it.

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


It turns out there IS a castle just over the French border into Catalonia and it was largely ruined in the early 19th century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century so there are no color photographs of it in its semi-ruined state. But the reconstruction project took a few early photographs.

I wonder if https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castell_de_Requesens was the inspiration for Stephen's castle.



1845 pre-reconstruction photos:







Plenty of stairs and courtyards but no marble baths or lemon trees.

Arglebargle III fucked around with this message at 16:11 on May 22, 2021

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Finally after twenty years of attempts I convinced someone I know offline to actually read Master and Commander

They asked me the other day "wait, did Jack . . .deliberately break his ship?"

"Remember how the harbor master wouldn't give him new stuff?"

"Ohh, ok, I suspected that but I didn't *know* it"

Then he started talking about how amazed he was at O'Brian's contempt for the concept of explanation

He says he won't read all twenty books just maybe the first three

But he's so hooked

Said his favorite joke so far was how Jack had apparently been ordering dishes in Spanish, on an island that spoke Catalan, for months, without realizing

Hieronymous Alloy
Jan 30, 2009


Why! Why!! Why must you refuse to accept that Dr. Hieronymous Alloy's Genetically Enhanced Cream Corn Is Superior to the Leading Brand on the Market!?!



Morbid Hound

Arglebargle III posted:

It turns out there IS a castle just over the French border into Catalonia and it was largely ruined in the early 19th century. It was rebuilt in the 19th century so there are no color photographs of it in its semi-ruined state. But the reconstruction project took a few early photographs.

I wonder if https://ca.wikipedia.org/wiki/Castell_de_Requesens was the inspiration for Stephen's castle.



1845 pre-reconstruction photos:







Plenty of stairs and courtyards but no marble baths or lemon trees.



Amazing!!!!!!!

Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


I started getting the audiobook collection collected on my phone for a long car trip next month and I've gone and ruined it. I am halfway through HMS Surprise at this point.

ChubbyChecker
Mar 25, 2018



Hieronymous Alloy posted:

Finally after twenty years of attempts I convinced someone I know offline to actually read Master and Commander

They asked me the other day "wait, did Jack . . .deliberately break his ship?"

"Remember how the harbor master wouldn't give him new stuff?"

"Ohh, ok, I suspected that but I didn't *know* it"

Then he started talking about how amazed he was at O'Brian's contempt for the concept of explanation

He says he won't read all twenty books just maybe the first three

But he's so hooked

Said his favorite joke so far was how Jack had apparently been ordering dishes in Spanish, on an island that spoke Catalan, for months, without realizing

post his takes on the next 20 books

Stringent
Dec 22, 2004

The internet is the universal sewer.


Arglebargle III posted:

I started getting the audiobook collection collected on my phone for a long car trip next month and I've gone and ruined it. I am halfway through HMS Surprise at this point.

patrick tull is a pimp

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Arglebargle III
Feb 21, 2006


The Lord Bude posted:

Bearing in mind that wine glasses were much, much smaller back then.

Looking it up, a 1790s wine glass was about 70 mL and laudanum is about 10mg/mL opium. In Post Captain Stephen is taking 70 mL a day. In The Letter of Marque he is taking 1000 drops a day, or three glasses. This seems reasonable. However in Desolation Island he's taking 18000 drops a day - 900 mL - which is nearly a liter of laudanum or 9 grams of opium. This isn't impossible for an addict but either Patrick O'Brian made a mistake or we're to believe Stephen is taking heroic doses every day. In The Letter of Marque he has accidentally weaned himself off of opium in the preceding 18 months, and nearly kills himself with two glasses of laudanum, about 140 mg of opium which is believable for someone with no tolerance.

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