The naming of names

It has been a whirlwind of a week, and I’m exhausted – which may be why I’m so late posting anything.

I spent last weekend mostly at the Scots Fiddle Festival, which has nothing to do with the Age of Sail, although with my usual habit of finding it everywhere the four bands in the two big concerts I went to each gave me something – a tune called Nelson and Victory ‘which isn’t from the North East but wants to be’, a Danish sea shanty with different characters, Cuckold Come out of the Amery from the Master and Commander soundtrack (which might be a good topic for another day), and just when I thought the last band had let me down, Bonaparte’s Retreat as the last tune of their encore!

In between the rest of the chaos, I have been rereading HMS Surprise and remembering the borrowed names, which I first noticed when I started looking up Joan Maragall to find out if he was a real person – and there was a Joan Maragall, but he was a Catalan writer at a much later date. Of course, there could easily have been many people by that name, but Joan Ramis is another writer, confusingly one who was living in Mahon at the time the books are set, but who obviously wasn’t Stephen’s doctor friend!

And of course John Aubrey is an English writer – and although Jack’s eventual library is inherited from an earlier John Aubrey, I don’t think there’s supposed to be a family connection.

Are there more writers hiding in the books? There is a writing Maturin, but none of the others have changed the first name, so I can’t decide if that’s an inspiration or not.

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