John Masefield (1878 – 1967) was an English poet and novelist, known for the prominence of seafaring themes in his work. (He went to sea as a boy, but gave it up before he was twenty; according to one account because he was ironically a martyr to seasickness.) He was Poet Laureate from 1930 until his death.
His best-known poem is indubitably "Sea-Fever", which begins:
I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by
As a novelist, he is probably most widely known for his children's fantasy novels, The Midnight Folk
and The Box of Delights
. The Box of Delights
was adapted into a six-part TV miniseries
Works by John Masefield with their own trope page include:
John Masefield's other works provide examples of:
- All Just a Dream: One of his best-known novels ends this way.
- Direct Line to the Author: Several of his novels imply that their events actually happened. Some (including The Midnight Folk and Odtaa) include references to the author being personally acquainted with their protagonists.
- Dressing as the Enemy: A key part of the plot in The Taking of the Gry.
- Exposition of Immortality: The Box of Delights had Ramon Lully, aka Cole Hawlings, 14th century philosopher posing as a 1930s children's entertainer. His reveal comes courtesy of the villain, Abner Brown, who's been in pursuit of him for some time and shows his henchmen a book with pictures of Lully when he was alive which look remarkably like Hawlings.
- Latin Land: Santa Barbara, briefly mentioned in The Midnight Folk, and shown in more detail in his adult novels Sard Harker, Odtaa, and The Taking of the Gry.
- Pirates: The subject of several of his poems
- Tomboy: Maria in The Box of Delights
- Walk the Plank: In "A Ballad of John Silver"
- The Wild Hunt: In the poem "The Hounds of Hell"