Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 134
Apart from the Hornblower saga, for which he is best known, C. S. Forester wrote modern naval fiction, historical biographies, travel books, war adventures set on land, a romantic adventure, several allegories set in Africa, and, early in his career, three psychological crime thrillers. Although the mystery contributions have always...
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- Critical Essays
Apart from the Hornblower saga, for which he is best known, C. S. Forester wrote modern naval fiction, historical biographies, travel books, war adventures set on land, a romantic adventure, several allegories set in Africa, and, early in his career, three psychological crime thrillers. Although the mystery contributions have always been overshadowed by the hugely successful adventure novels that followed, they present compelling stories in their own right. Not content to follow the classical detective format, Forester wrote inverted mysteries that penetrate the superficial mechanics of crime to reveal the psychologies of the perpetrators. Forester never achieved any great measure of critical success, nor did he aspire to literary acclaim. He was well received by the public and will be remembered as a writer of good stories with fast-paced plots and meticulously researched details.
Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 419
Forester, C. S. The Hornblower Companion. 1964. Reprint. London: Chatham, 1998. An indispensable addendum, which Forester composed before beginning his last Hornblower novel. In addition to maps and notes keyed to the Hornblower books, it contains an essay explaining how he wrote the Hornblower books (this essay is also an appendix in Long Before Forty).
Forester, C. S. Long Before Forty. London: Michael Joseph, 1967. Forester wrote this posthumously published autobiography early in his life. Although it is an unreliable account of his early life, it provides fascinating glimpses into how he wrote his first books.
Forester, John. Novelist & Storyteller: The Life of C. S. Forester. 2 vols. Lemon Grove, Calif.: Author, 2000. By far the fullest biography of C. S. Forester, this book self-published by his oldest son is a richly detailed, iconoclastic, and often painfully revealing account of Forester’s inner life. Although often difficult to read because of the son’s obvious bitterness about his father’s dishonesty, this is an important contribution to understanding Forester as a writer that will influence all future studies of the author.
Parkinson, C. Northcote. The Life and Times of Horatio Hornblower. London: Joseph, 1971. A wholly imaginative biography of Forester’s fictional hero that attempts to tie Hornblower’s career with real naval history.
Rzepka, Charles J. Detective Fiction. Malden, Mass.: Polity, 2005. An important entry in the cultural studies of police and detective fiction, looking at the genre both as revealing of and influencing the cultures that produce it. Provides context for understanding Forester’s work. Bibliographic references and index.
Sternlicht, Sanford. C. S. Forester. Boston: Twayne, 1981. Part of Twayne’s English Authors series; provides a full study of Forester’s life and works as well as history and criticism of his career.
Sternlicht, Sanford. C. S. Forester and the Hornblower Saga. Rev. ed. Syracuse, N.Y.: Syracuse University Press, 1999. Wholesale revision of Sternlicht’s earlier study published to capitalize on the interest in Hornblower generated by a British miniseries adapted from Mr. Midshipman Hornblower broadcast in the United States on the A&E network.
Symons, Julian. “The Golden Age: The Thirties.” In Mortal Consequences: A History, from the Detective Story to the Crime Novel. London: Faber and Faber, 1972. Discusses Forester’s contributions to the British detective fiction of the 1930’s and the relation between that period and the overall progression of the crime-fiction genre.
Symons, Julian, ed. The Hundred Best Crime Stories. London: The Sunday Times, 1959. Places Forester’s Payment Deferred as one of the hundred best crime stories of all time.