Stephen Maturin

From WikiPOBia

Jump to: navigation, search

Doctor Stephen Maturin, born Esteban Maturin y Domanova[1] is one of two primary protagonists of the Aubrey-Maturin series — the other is Jack Aubrey. He first appears as a impoverished physician in Port Mahon, Minorca, in the opening chapter of Master and Commander.

Dr. Maturin attends a concert in the Governor's House in Port Mahon, elbowing a Royal Navy lieutenant who can't beat time correctly. He is described to the reader as a, "small, dark, white-faced creature in a rusty black coat. It was difficult to tell his age, for not only had he that kind of face that does not give anything away, but he was wearing a wig, a grizzled wig, apparently made of wire and quite devoid of powder." (Norton pg 8) Jack Aubrey thinks he is roughly the same age as himself.

The reader soon learns that the good doctor is stranded in Minorca after the death of his patient and is in need of employment.


Ancestry and birth

Stephen was born around 1772, the natural child of an Irish officer in the service of Spain and a Catalonian heiress. His father seems connected to the prominent Catholic Irish family of FitzGerald whose members Maturin often addresses as "cousin". Despite the fact that his parents were never married, he seems to have been given many of the advantages of belonging to both prominent families and inherits great wealth from his Catalan relations and some Irish property.

Childhood and education

Stephen spent part of his boyhood in Ireland where he learned the Irish language from his nurse. He was, however, "carefully brought up by his Catalan grandfather", from whom he learned his manners and the arts of the gentleman.[2] He gained his university education at Trinity College, Dublin where he was a noted and successful duelist. He pursued his medical education in Paris under the name Étienne Domanova,[citation needed] but goes by Maturin throughout the canon.[3] In Paris he qualified as a doctor, at about the time of the French Revolution.

Political involvement

Stephen was involved with many of the protagonists in the failed Irish revolt of 1798, but did not take part in the rising. He was a cousin of Lord Edward Fitzgerald, one of the leaders. At this time he was involved with a young woman named Mona but the relationship did not continue for unknown reasons.[4] He left Ireland after the rising as the private doctor of a gentleman. They sailed to Minorca where his patient died leaving him penniless.

His sympathy for Catalonian independence also causes him to become involved with Catalans seeking separation from both France and Spain. He is recruited into British intelligence under Sir Joseph Blaine by connections made with Catalan merchants[5].


  1. O'Brian, Patrick. The Wine-Dark Sea. (c) 1993 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110: p. 29
  2. O'Brian, Patrick. Blue at the Mizzen. (c) 1999 W.W. Norton & Company, New York, NY 10110. p. 141
  3. O'Brian, Patrick. The Wine-Dark Sea. (c) 1993 W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110: p. 29
  4. O'Brian, Patrick. The Thirteen-Gun Salute.©1989 by Patrick O'Brian. First American Edition 1991, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 500 Fifth Avenue, New York, NY 10110: p. 89
  5. The Thirteen Gun Salute, more details to follow
Personal tools