Fun Facts Friday: Captain Frederick Marryat

Captain Frederick Marryat (10 July, 1792 – 9 August, 1848) was a Royal Navy officer, and a novelist who pioneered historical naval fiction.

Books by Captain Frederick Marryat*Books by Captain Frederick Marryat*

  1. Mr. Marryat was born in Westminster, London to Joseph Marryat, a merchant and member of Parliament, and his American wife Charlotte.
  2. Before joining the Royal Navy, at 14 years old, Mr. Marryat tried to run away to sea a few times.
  3. In the Royal Navy he served on a frigate commanded by Lord Cochrane, who served as an inspiration not only to Mr. Marryat, but to other authors as well. The author also fought in the Napoleonic wars.
  4. After his service Mr. Marryat turned to science. He invented the lifeboat (and got the nickname “lifeboat”, as well as a gold medal from the Royal Humane Society), a system of maritime flag signaling known as Marryat’s Code, and described a new gastropod genus Cyclostrema.
  5. As a recognition of his achievements, Captain Marryat was named  a Fellow of the Royal Society.
  6. Captain Marryat married Catherine Shairp in 1809. The couple had four sons and seven daughters. Three of their daughters became prominent authors by their own right, Florence Marryat wrote many novels and an official biography of her father as well as a successful actress, Emilia Marryat wrote adventures novels like her father, and Augusta Marryat who also wrote adventure novels.
  7. Captain Marryat lived in Brussels, Belgium for one year, and also traveled to Canada, and the United States. He later published his Diary in America, a travelogue criticizing American society and culture.
  8. In 1839, moving back to London, Captain Marryat moved in the same literary circles as Charles Dickens.
  9. Some of Captain Marryat’s works influenced Ernest Hemingway, Mark Twain, and Joseph Conrad. His works were also admired, and served as models, for the likes C. S. Forester and Patrick O’Brian.
  10. Captain Marryat had health issues later in life, but when his son died he never managed to recover and passed away in Langham, Norfolk.

Books by Captain Frederick Marryat*

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*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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