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Patrick O’Brian – First Edition Books: Identification Guide

Patrick O'Brian
Patrick O’Brian

Patrick O’Brian (1914 – 2000), born Richard Patrick Russ, was an English novelist and translator, best known for his Aubrey–Maturin series of sea novels set in the Royal Navy during the Napoleonic Wars, and centred on the friendship of the English naval captain Jack Aubrey and the Irish–Catalan physician Stephen Maturin. The 20-novel series, the first of which is Master and Commander, is known for its well-researched and highly detailed portrayal of early 19th-century life, as well as its authentic and evocative language. A partially finished 21st novel in the series was published posthumously containing facing pages of handwriting and typescript.

O’Brian wrote a number of other novels and short stories, most of which were published before he achieved success with the Aubrey–Maturin series. He also translated works from French to English, and wrote two biographies.

His major success as a writer came late in life, when the Aubrey-Maturin series caught the eye of an American publisher. The series drew more readers and favourable reviews when the author was in his seventies. Near the end of his life, and in the same year that he lost his wife, British media revealed details of O’Brian’s early life, first marriage, and post-war change of name, causing distress to the very private author and to many of his readers at that time.

As well as his historical novels, Patrick O’Brian wrote three adult mainstream novels, six short-story collections, and a history of the Royal Navy aimed at young readers. He was also a respected translator, responsible for more than 30 translations from the French into English, including Henri Charrière’s Papillon (UK) and Banco: The further adventures of Papillon, Jean Lacouture’s biography of Charles de Gaulle, as well as many of Simone de Beauvoir’s later works.

Patrick O’Brian – First Editions Identification Guide

How to Identify First Edition books by Patrick O'Brian
YearTitlePublisherFirst edition/printing identification points
1950The Last Pool and Other StoriesLondon: Seeker & Warburg, 1950Dust jacket's front flap code ''W.381". "First published 1950" stated on © page.
1953The CatalansNew York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, [1953]Dust jacket ($2.50)."First Edition" stated on © page.
ALSO: London: Hart-Davis, 1953. First UK edition. Dust jacket (10/6).
1955The Walker and Other StoriesNew York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, [1955]Dust jacket ($3.50)."First Edition" stated on © page.
ALSO: London: Hart-Davis, 1956. Published as "Lying in the sun and other stories." First UK edition. Dust jacket (12/6).
1969Master and CommanderNew York: Harcourt, Brace and Company, [1969]Dust jacket ($6.95). "First Edition" stated on © page.
ALSO: London: Collins, 1970. Dust jacket (30/-).
1972Post CaptainLondon: Collins, 1972Dust jacket (£1.80). "First published 1972" stated on © page.
ALSO: Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1972. First American edition. Dust jacket ($7.95)
1973HMS SurpriseLondon: Collins, 1973Dust jacket (£2.50). "First published 1973" stated on © page. ALSO: Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1973. Dust jacket ($7.95).
1974The Chian Wine and Other StoriesLondon: Collins, 1974Dust jacket (£2.50). "First published 1974" stated on © page.
1977The Mauritius CommandLondon: Collins, 1977Dust jacket (£3.95). "First published 1977" stated on © page.
ALSO New York: Stein and Day, 1978. First American edition. Dust jacket ($8.95).
1978Desolation IslandLondon: Collins, 1978Dust jacket (£4.95). "First published 1978" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Stein and Day, 1979. First American edition. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1979The Fortune of WarLondon: Collins, 1979Dust jacket (£5.50)."First published 1979" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1991. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1980The Surgeon's MateLondon: Collins, 1980Dust jacket (£5.95). "First published 1980" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1981The Ionian MissionLondon: Collins, 1981Dust jacket (£6.95). "First published 1981" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1983Treason's HarbourLondon: Collins, 1983Dust jacket (£6.95). "First published 1983" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1984The Far Side of the WorldLondon: Collins, 1984Dust jacket (£9.95). "First published 1984" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1986The Reverse of the MedalLondon: Collins, 1986Dust jacket (£10.95). "First published 1986" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($9.95).
1988The Letter of MarqueLondon: Collins, 1988Dust jacket (£10.95). "First published 1988" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1991. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($18.95).
1989The Thirteen-Gun SaluteLondon: Collins, 1989Dust jacket (£11.95). "First published 1989" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1991. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($18.95).
1991The Nutmeg of ConsolationLondon: Collins, 1991Dust jacket (£13.99). "First published 1991" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1991. First American edition. "1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($18.95).
1992Clarissa OakesLondon: HarperCollins, [1992]Dust jacket (£14.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1992. Published as "True Love". First American edition. "First American edition 1992" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($19.95).
1993The Wine-Dark SeaLondon: HarperCollins, [1993]Dust jacket (£14.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1993. First American edition. "First American edition 1993" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($19.95).
1994The CommodoreLondon: HarperCollins, [1994]Dust jacket (£14.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1994. First American edition. "First American edition 1994" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($19.95).
1996The Yellow AdmiralLondon: HarperCollins, [1996]Dust jacket (£15.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1996. fbc stated on © page. Dust jacket ($24.00).
1998The Hundred DaysLondon: HarperCollins, [1998]Dust jacket (£15.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1998. "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($24.00).
1999Blue at the MizzenLondon: HarperCollins, [1999]Dust jacket (£15.99). "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page.
ALSO: New York: Norton, 1999. "1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2" stated on © page. Dust jacket ($24.00).

Patrick O’Brian – First Printing Dust Jackets Identification Guide

Gallery of First state Dust Jackets of Patrick O’Brian’s works. Only includes the first appearance in book form. Either the UK or US edition and does not include later printings.

Reference:

  • Wikipedia
  • A. E. Cunnningham: Patrick O’Brian, Critical Essays and Bibliography.

BOOKSTORE: Rare, Antiquarian, First editions, Illustrated Children's Books

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