Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997)
Marryat, Frederick

(1792-1848) UK naval officer and, after retirement, writer. FM wrote at least 25 books during the last two decades of his life, most famously tales like Mr Midshipman Easy (1836), Masterman Ready (1841) – the first of his books for children – and The Children of the New Forest (1847). His first work of genre interest, The Pacha of Many Tales (coll of linked stories 1835), was a Parody of the Arabian Nights (> Arabian Fantasy) in which some Tall Tales of fantasy interest – the seven "Voyages of Huckaback" (> Fantastic Voyages), several of them to mysterious Islands – are recounted to the entertainment-seeking pasha. Snarleyyow, or The Dog Fiend (1837) is a Horror tale about a dog which cannot be destroyed.

The Phantom Ship (1839), FM's most important work of fantasy interest, is based on the Flying-Dutchman story. Episodic, melodramatic, and surprisingly grim (Vanderdecken's virtuous though pagan daughter-in-law is burned at the stake), the novel is a significant rendering of the Topos of the Bondage of Immortality. The protagonist (the Dutchman's son) spends his life – accompanied by the antic and vicious Schriften, a Shadow figure – attempting to release his father through the agency of the fragment of the True Cross he carries with him. He dies at the moment of success. [JC]

Captain Frederick Marryat


This entry is taken from the Encyclopedia of Fantasy (1997) edited by John Clute and John Grant. It is provided as a reference and resource for users of the SF Encyclopedia, but apart from possible small corrections has not been updated.