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Mr. Midshipman Easy

Frederick Marryat

Book Overview: 

One of the first novel-length pieces of nautical fiction, MR. MIDSHIPMAN EASY is a funny and easygoing account of the adventures of Jack Easy, a son of privilege who joins the Royal Navy. The work begins as a satire on Jack’s attachment to “the rights of man” that may try the listener’s patience. But despair not, for the story soon settles down as the philosophical midshipman begins his many triumphs over bullies, foul weather, and various damned foreigners of murderous intent.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Mesty, who was delighted, he went on deck, and waited the issue of the affair.

Before Jack left the hotel, he had told the waiter that there was the boatswain still fast asleep, and that he must be roused up immediately; and this injunction was obeyed. The boatswain, who had drunk too much the night before, and, as Jack had truly imagined, had opened the window because he was unwell, was wakened up, and, hearing how late it was, hastened to dress himself. Not finding his trousers, he rang the bell, supposing that they had been taken down to be brushed, and, in the meantime, put on everything else, that he might lose no time: the waiter who answered the bell denied having taken the trousers out of the room, and poor Mr Biggs was in a sad quandary. What had become of them, he could not tell: he had no recollection of having gone to bed the night before; he inquired of the waiter, who said that he knew nothing about them—that he was very tipsy when he came home, and that whe. . . Read More

Community Reviews

I'm a little surprised by how much I enjoyed this. Not that I expected reading it to be a chore, but I read it more just to have a book on the go than out of any particular enthusiasm. However, I was very quickly won over by its satirical tone and wry humour--not to mention Marryat's fondness for...more

I know this is supposed to be Marryat's best work, and I also realize that the problems I had with it were because of where and when it was wrtten, but I found large parts of this book regpugnant. The adventures are pretty well written, although they presuppose a far greater understanding of sail...more

Although he's mostly forgotten today, Marryat was a tremendously popular author of naval yarns who actually was a captain in the Royal Navy during the Golden Age of Sail. This book is the story of Jack Easy, a wealthy young man raised up to believe in a ridiculous version of equality - no one has...more

A very amusing and entertaining read concerning how a young philosopher doesn't mix entirely well at first with the British Navy (for with everything, Easy prefers to "argue the point"). Captain Marryat has a delightful sense of humor, but I particularly found his three pages of moralizing in cha...more

On opening Captain Marryat's Mr. Midshipman Easy I expected a straightforward historical novel. Instead I discovered the picaresque story of a coddled and naive young man, Jack Easy, who considers himself a philosopher. Jack, the fruit of an unconventional upbringing, joined the Royal Navy antici...more

I wanted to hold off, but I couldn't help myself. I loved Jacob Faithful so much that I didn't want it to end. Well! I liked J.F. better, as it happens, but this book was great too, just a different dolphin. If J.F. reminded me of Dickens, Midshipman Easy reminded me of Henry Fielding (Tom Jones)...more

This nautical novel focuses on the adventures of "our hero," Jack Easy. The story begins thus:

"CHAPTER I - Which the reader will find very easy to read."

I burst out laughing when I read this, and I was similarly amused by the whole novel. It is written in a whimsical style that includes reference...more

I was a little slowed down by the Tristram Shandy-esque origin story, but soon enough this picks up pace, and becomes delightful. I have to assume Marryat was inspired by Sterne, because the satirical aspect of this novel is by far the most entertaining part. At times, my jaw dropped, or I laughe...more

I had the pleasure of reading "Mr. Midshipman Easy" several years ago. It lives up to its billing as a novel full of exciting seafaring adventures on the high seas during the Napoleonic Wars. The human interest elements in the novel are also compelling and true-to-life.

This is a fictionalized story of Marryat’s own experience in the British Royal Navy during the Napoleonic era. Obviously, this is right up my alley. Regrettably, though, I did not enjoy Marryat’s work nearly so much as the Horatio Hornblower books by C.S. Forester. Marryat actually lived during t...more

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