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Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
is an 1897 novel, by Rudyard Kipling, that follows the adventures of fifteen-year-old Harvey Cheyne Jr., the spoiled son of a railroad tycoon, after he is saved from drowning by a Portuguese fisherman in the north Atlantic. The novel originally appeared as a serialisation in McClure's, beginning with the November 1896 edition. In 1900, in his essay “What We Can Expect of the American Boy,” Teddy Roosevelt extolled the book and praised Kipling for describing “in the liveliest way just what a boy should be and do.”[1] The book's title comes from the ballad Mary Ambree, which starts, "When captains courageous, whom death could not daunt". Kipling had previously used the same title for an article on businessmen as the new adventurers, published in The Times
The Times
of 23 November 1892.[2]

Contents

1 Plot 2 Notes 3 Film, TV, theatrical, or other adaptations 4 Derivative usages 5 References 6 External links

Plot[edit]

Cover of the November 1896 edition of McClure's, which began the serialisation of the novel.

The ship We're Here

Protagonist Harvey Cheyne, Jr., is the son of a wealthy railroad magnate and his wife, in San Diego, California. Washed overboard from a transatlantic steamship and rescued by fishermen off the Grand Banks of Newfoundland, Harvey can neither persuade them to take him quickly to port, nor convince them of his wealth. Harvey accuses the captain, Disko Troop of taking his money (which is later revealed to be on the deck Harvey fell from.) Disko Troop, captain of the We're Here, bloodies his nose but takes him in as a boy on the crew until they return to port. Harvey comes to accept his situation. Through a series of trials and adventures, Harvey, with the help of the captain's son Dan Troop, becomes acclimated to the fishing lifestyle, and even skillful. Great stories of the cod fishery with references to New England whaling and 19th century steam and sailing are intertwined with the We're Here's adventures during a season at sea. Eventually, the schooner returns to port and Harvey wires his parents, who immediately hasten to Boston, Massachusetts, and thence to the fishing town of Gloucester to recover him. There, Harvey's mother rewards the seaman Manuel, who initially rescued her son; Harvey's father hires Dan to work on his prestigious tea clipper fleet; and Harvey goes to Stanford to prepare for taking over his father's shipping lines. Notes[edit] The book was written during Kipling's time living in Brattleboro, Vermont. Kipling recalled in his autobiography:

Now our Dr. [James] Conland had served in [the Gloucester] fleet when he was young. One thing leading to another, as happens in this world, I embarked on a little book which was called Captains Courageous. My part was the writing; his the details. This book took us (he rejoicing to escape from the dread respectability of our little town) to the shore-front, and the old T-wharf of Boston
Boston
Harbour, and to queer meals in sailors’ eating-houses, where he renewed his youth among ex-shipmates or their kin. We assisted hospitable tug-masters to help haul three- and four-stick schooners of Pocahontas coal all round the harbour; we boarded every craft that looked as if she might be useful, and we delighted ourselves to the limit of delight. ... Old tales, too, he dug up, and the lists of dead and gone schooners whom he had loved, and I revelled in profligate abundance of detail—not necessarily for publication but for the joy of it. ...I wanted to see if I could catch and hold something of a rather beautiful localised American atmosphere that was already beginning to fade. Thanks to Conland I came near this.[3]

Kipling also recalled:

When, at the end of my tale, I desired that some of my characters should pass from San Francisco [sic] to New York in record time, and wrote to a railway magnate of my acquaintance asking what he himself would do, that most excellent man sent a fully worked-out time-table, with watering halts, changes of engine, mileage, track conditions and climates, so that a corpse could not have gone wrong in the schedule.[3]

The resulting account, in Chapter 9, of the Cheynes' journey from San Diego to Boston, is a classic of railway literature. The couple travel in the Cheynes' private rail car, the "Constance", and are taken from San Diego
San Diego
to Chicago as a special train, hauled by sixteen locomotives in succession. It takes precedence over 177 other trains. "Two and one-half minutes would be allowed for changing engines; three for watering and two for coaling". The "Constance" is attached to the scheduled express "New York Limited" to Buffalo, New York
Buffalo, New York
and then transferred to the New York Central for the trip across the state to Albany. Switched to the Boston
Boston
and Albany Railroad, the Cheynes complete the trip to Boston
Boston
in their private car, with the entire cross-country run taking 87 hours 35 minutes. Kipling also recalled:

My characters arrived triumphantly; and, then, a real live railway magnate was so moved after reading the book that he called out his engines and called out his men, hitched up his own private car, and set himself to beat my time on paper over the identical route, and succeeded. [3]

Disko Troop claims to receive his given name for his birth on board his father's ship near Disko Island
Disko Island
on the west coast of Greenland. His crewman 'Long Jack' once calls him "Discobolus". Film, TV, theatrical, or other adaptations[edit] Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
has been adapted for film three times:

In 1937 as Captains Courageous, produced by Louis D. Lighton, directed by Victor Fleming
Victor Fleming
and starring Spencer Tracy, Freddie Bartholomew, Lionel Barrymore, Melvyn Douglas, Mickey Rooney, and John Carradine. Tracy won the Academy Award for Best Actor
Academy Award for Best Actor
for his work in this film. In 1977 for television, directed by Harvey Hart and starring Karl Malden, Jonathan Kahn, Ricardo Montalbán, Fritz Weaver, Fred Gwynne and Neville Brand. In 1996 for television, directed by Michael Anderson and starring Robert Urich, Kenny Vadas, Kaj-Erik Eriksen, Sandra Nelson and Colin Cunningham.

Musical theatre:

Captains Courageous, The Musical was a 1999 Off Broadway production at the Manhattan Theatre Club.

Other adaptations:

The Billion Dollar Boy by Charles Sheffield is a retelling of Captains Courageous in a futuristic science fiction setting. Cabin Boy, a movie starring Chris Elliott, is a (very) loose adaptation.

Derivative usages[edit]

"Captain Courageous" in the singular is sometimes used as praise for a leader of a group or team, e.g. [1] [2] [3]. The commentator David Lloyd frequently referred to Kevin Pietersen
Kevin Pietersen
as "Captain Courageous" during his period as captain of the England cricket team. In the movie Captain Ron
Captain Ron
(1992), Martin Short's character derisively refers to the leader as "Captains Courageous". "Captains Outrageous" is the title of a 1979 episode of the American television series M*A*S*H and a 2001 crime/suspense novel by Joe R. Lansdale. "Captains Courageous" is a track on the Levellers
Levellers
album Mouth to Mouth

References[edit]

^ Roosevelt, Theodore (May 1900). "What We Can Expect of the American Boy". St. Nicholas. Retrieved 7 August 2016.  ^ Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
title, Kipling.org ^ a b c Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself: for my friends known and unknown, London: MacMillan and Co., 1951 (first published 1937). p. 129-131

External links[edit]

Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
at Project Gutenberg Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
public domain audiobook at LibriVox "Captains Courageous", Chapter 1, McClure's
McClure's
Magazine, November 1896 Introduction to the novel at Kipling Org Note on the text at Kipling Org Captains Courageous, The Musical at The Internet Off Broadway Database

v t e

Rudyard Kipling

Novels

The Light that Failed
The Light that Failed
(1891) Captains Courageous
Captains Courageous
(1896) Kim (1901)

Collections

Plain Tales from the Hills (1888) Soldiers Three
Soldiers Three
(1888) The Story of the Gadsbys
The Story of the Gadsbys
(1888) In Black and White (1888) The Phantom 'Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales
The Phantom 'Rickshaw and other Eerie Tales
(1888) Under the Deodars
Under the Deodars
(1888) Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories
Wee Willie Winkie and Other Child Stories
(1888) From Sea to Sea and Other Sketches, Letters of Travel (1889) Barrack-Room Ballads
Barrack-Room Ballads
(1892, poetry) Many Inventions (1893) The Jungle Book
The Jungle Book
(1894)

"Mowgli's Brothers" "Kaa's Hunting" "Tiger! Tiger!" "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi"

The Second Jungle Book
The Second Jungle Book
(1895)

"Letting in the Jungle" "Red Dog"

All the Mowgli Stories (c. 1895) The Seven Seas (1896, poetry) The Day's Work (1898) Stalky & Co. (1899) Just So Stories
Just So Stories
(1902) The Five Nations
The Five Nations
(1903, poetry) Puck of Pook's Hill
Puck of Pook's Hill
(1906) Rewards and Fairies
Rewards and Fairies
(1910) The Fringes of the Fleet
The Fringes of the Fleet
(1915, non-fiction) Debits and Credits (1926) Limits and Renewals (1932) Rudyard Kipling's Verse: Definitive Edition (1940) A Choice of Kipling's Verse
A Choice of Kipling's Verse
(by T. S. Eliot, 1941)

Poems

"The Absent-Minded Beggar" "The Ballad of the "Clampherdown"" "The Ballad of East and West" "The Beginnings" "The Bell Buoy" "The Betrothed" "Big Steamers" "Boots" "Cold Iron" "Dane-geld" "Danny Deever" "A Death-Bed" "The Female of the Species" "Fuzzy-Wuzzy" "Gentleman ranker" "The Gods of the Copybook Headings" "Gunga Din" "Hymn Before Action" "If—" "In the Neolithic Age" "The King's Pilgrimage" "The Last of the Light Brigade" "The Lowestoft Boat" "Mandalay" "The Mary Gloster" "McAndrew's Hymn" "My Boy Jack" "Recessional" "A Song in Storm" "The Sons of Martha" "Submarines" "The Sweepers" "Tommy" "Ubique" "The White Man's Burden" "The Widow at Windsor"

Short stories

".007" "The Arrest of Lieutenant Golightly" "Baa Baa, Black Sheep" "Bread upon the Waters" "The Broken Link Handicap" "The Butterfly that Stamped" "Consequences" "The Conversion of Aurelian McGoggin" "Cupid's Arrows" "The Devil and the Deep Sea" "The Drums of the Fore and Aft" "Fairy-Kist" "False Dawn" "A Germ-Destroyer" "His Chance in Life" "His Wedded Wife" "In the House of Suddhoo" "Kidnapped" "Learoyd, Mulvaney and Ortheris" "Lispeth" "The Man Who Would Be King" "A Matter of Fact" "Miss Youghal's Sais" "The Mother Hive" "Ortheris" "The Other Man" "The Rescue of Pluffles" "The Ship that Found Herself" "The Sing-Song of Old Man Kangaroo" "The Taking of Lungtungpen" "Three and – an Extra" "The Three Musketeers" "Thrown Away" "Toomai of the Elephants" "Watches of the Night" "Wireless" "Yoked with an Unbeliever"

Related

Bibliography Bateman's
Bateman's
(house) Indian Railway Library Ritual of the Calling of an Engineer

Iron Ring

Law of the jungle Aerial Board of Control My Boy Jack (1997 play) Rudyard Kipling: A Remembrance Tale (2006 documentary) My Boy Jack (2007 film)

Family

Elsie Bambridge (daughter) John Kipling
John Kipling
(son) John Lockwood Kipling
John Lockwood Kipling
(father) MacDonald sisters
MacDonald sisters
(mother's family) Stanley Baldwin
Stanley Baldwin
(cousin) Georgiana Burne-Jones
Georgiana Burne-Jones
(aunt) Edward Burne-Jones
Edward Burne-Jones
(uncle) Philip Burne-Jones
Philip Burne-Jones
(cousin) Edward Poynter
Edward Poynter
(uncle) Alfred Bal

.