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Creator / John Masefield

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John Edward Masefield OM (1 June 1878 12 May 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.
  • Double-Meaning Title: Dead Ned is about the life and near-death of a man named Ned, but "Dead Ned" is also the name of a geographical feature that plays a key role in the plot.
  • Dressing as the Enemy: A key part of the plot in The Taking of the Gry.
  • The Man They Couldn't Hang: The protagonist of Dead Ned and Live and Kicking Ned is convicted of a murder he didn't commit and hanged, but he narrowly survives the experience and goes into hiding until he can clear his name.
  • 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.
  • Suicidal Lemmings: They appear in his poem "The Lemmings".
    Once in a hundred years the Lemmings come
    Westward, in search of food, over the snow;
    Westward until the salt sea drowns them dumb;
    Westward, till all are drowned, those Lemmings go.
  • Walk the Plank: In "A Ballad of John Silver"
  • The Wild Hunt: In the poem "The Hounds of Hell"

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