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Masterman Ready

Catalogue record

Creator: Marryat, Frederick, 1792-1848

Object Source: Masterman Ready ; or, The wreck of the Pacific written for young people .

Place of Creation: London

Published by Longman Orme Brown Green & Longmans

Date of creation : 1841-42

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Format : Book

"The Seagrave family while emigrating to Australia on the ship Pacific are wrecked in a great storm on an island far to the south near Van Diemen's Land. After many trials and adventures on their island, they are finally rescued and eventually settle in Australia." -- Booksellers catalogue

Daniel Defoe's novel Robinson Crusoe was published in 1719: it was immediately successful, so much so that four editions were published in the next four months. The story was translated, abridged and re-written for children many times, appearing as a 16 page chapbook and as a seven page early pop-up book among more standard formats. It also spawned a whole genre of imitations--the Robinsonade.

A Robinsonade is not a 'reinterpretation of the Robinson story, but a repetition of a similar situation, a castaway on an uninhabitated island...' (Signal p. 64). Countless of these stories have been writtten and continue to be written into the modern era: Lord of the Flies by William Golding is but one of many.

Captain Frederick Marryat's Masterman Ready is one of the more famous of these, although its readership has fallen off since the mid-20th century. Marryat was a distinguished naval captain before he embarked on a career of writing. Today his children's stories are probably the best known, including Mr Midshipman Easy, Children of the New Forest and Masterman Ready. In Masterman Ready the shipwrecked Seagrave family are ably assisted by Ready of the title, an experienced and capable seaman. In an improvement on Defoe, Marryat had the plants and animals available to the castaways relevant to the climate of their southern island: this reflects the greater knowledge of world geography available to the author, writing 120 years after Defoe.

Marryat was also recognised for his work in developing A code of signals ... , and for developing a life boat, for which he was recognised by the Royal Humane Society.


Related names

Defoe, Daniel. 1661?-1731. Robinson Crusoe

Further reading

Carpenter, Humphrey The Oxford companion to children's literature by Humphrey Carpenter and Mari Prichard Oxford [Oxfordshire]; New York: Oxford University Press, 1984 See: Robinsonnades

Pocock, Tom Captain Marryat: seaman, writer and adventurer London: Chatham, 2000

Warner, Oliver Captain Marryat: a rediscovery London: Constable, 1953

Signal no. 17 May 1975 p. 61-74 Hoffman, Margit Robinsonades: The J A Ahlstrand Collection

Audebrand, Philibert Un petit fils de Robinson Paris: Théodore Lef vre, [1863?]


Frederick Marryat

Masterman Ready by Frederick Marryat: free e-book

Digital Library of the Caribbean: Robinson Crusoe and the Robinsonades

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