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Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Maritime Logistics Professional

C. S. Forester

Posted to Maritime Musings (by on June 7, 2013

English novelist remembered for creating Horatio Hornblower, Royal Navy

Cecil Scott “CS” Forester was the pen name of Cecil Louis Troughton Smith (1899-1966), an English novelist and screenwriter.  He was born in Cairo (Egypt was then under British administration), raised in England, and spent his last 27 years living in the United States.  Found physically unqualified for military service during World War I, he studied medicine, but eventually turned to full-time writing.  His early novels were historic fiction, set in France.  In 1935, he wrote “The African Queen”, which was later made into a motion picture directed by John Huston and starring Humphrey Bogart and Katherine Hepburn.  In 1936, he wrote “The General”, which was later made into the motion picture “The Pride and the Passion”, directed by Stanley Kramer and starring Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, and Sophia Loren.  In 1938, he wrote “The Happy Return” (published in the United States as “Beat to Quarters”).  This was the first of a series featuring the Royal Navy officer Horatio Hornblower.  The book series was immensely popular.  While many readers think of the Hornblower series as a thinly disguised account of Admiral Horatio Nelson, Forester took great pains to keep his fictional character away from the scene of any significant naval engagement of the Napoleonic Era and based the exploits depicted on those of a number of Royal Navy officers.  In all, there were eleven Hornblower novels and five short stories.  The last novel (unfinished) and the last short story were published in 1967, after Forester’s death.  Episodes from several of the novels were consolidated into the 1951 motion picture “Captain Horatio Hornblower”, starring Gregory Peck and Virginia Mayo.  Forester wrote several other nautical books, including The Ship (1943) and Hunting the Bismarck (1959), which was made into the motion picture “Sink the Bismarck!”, starring Kenneth More.  He also wrote the nonfiction book The Age of Fighting Sail, depicting naval conflicts during the War of 1812.

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