Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

The greatest Catalan of all in British history

Thu Oct 26

‘Sir, The recent erudite correspondence* concerning the importance of Catalans in British history inexplicably omits the greatest of all: Dr Stephen Maturin, the British Navy surgeon, natural philosopher, intelligence agent and accomplished cellist, born of an illicit liaison between a Catalan lady and an Irish soldier. Dr Maturin and his “personal friend” Captain Jack Aubrey were instrumental in maintaining British honour and naval supremacy around the globe through the Napoleonic wars. While thus engaged, they also found time to play violin and cello duets (Corelli being a particular favourite) and engage in multiple affairs of the heart.

Their achievements provided the basis for Patrick O’Brian’s 20 completed volumes (plus one published posthumously) — among the greatest seafaring novels ever written.

I hope you will find space to correct this serious omission.’

From Malcolm Harker, Seattle, WA, US, October 25

* An independent Catalonia is in Britain’s best interests
From Charles Drace-Francis, St Monans, Fife, UK, October 17

Episodes in Catalan history were not so simple
From David Rodríguez Vega, London, UK, October 23, 2017

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