A Nautical Story Writer

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The fictional nautical story was extremely popular in the period stretching from the mid 1820s to about 1850. The best known writer in this field was undoubtedly Frederick Marryat, but the stories of Matthew Henry Barker (1790–1846), ‘The Old Sailor’, rivalled those of his contemporary in popularity. Both authors are in the first rank of writers of nautical fiction, but it is generally acknowledged that Barker’s descriptions of the man-of-war’s man, the forecastle Jack Tar, are without equal. Although several biographies of Marryat have been published, very little relating to Barker’s life and works is readily available. A Nautical Story Writer sets out the life and works of Barker, a journalist, novelist and Whig.


Paul N. Marshall is a retired university professor and biomedical researcher, BSc and PhD from University of Sheffield. He has published extensively in the fields of histochemistry, biological micro-technique, and cytometry. In recent years his passion has been the life and works of Matthew Henry Barker, and his literary and political engagement during this period of increasing democracy and reform, which took place at a time when Charles Dickens first began to write.