Patrick O'Brian Discussion Forum

Does it matter if authors make up their memoirs?


'Joseph Conrad invented a boat, HG Wells omitted his affairs. But does it matter if this imaginative licence reveals a different kind of truth?', asks Jerome Boyd Maunsell . .

POB never wrote any memoirs and resisted every attempt to pry into the imaginary persona he invented for himself - orphan childhood in the Irish countryside, sailing round the Med, war service in Intelligence, etc. The first thing that any Englishman of the upper/upper middle class of the period would ask was ‘What (private) school were you at?’ in order to establish social rank and identify links of kin- and friend-ship- it would have been fascinating to see how he deflected it to avoid the truth (grammar schools and ‘voracious, endless reading’)


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