An interesting article

Posted by Helen Sunday, October 09, 2011

Children's literature, if it is to be successful with children has to tread a fine line between conservatism (which is what most children are most of the time) and subtle rebelliousness (which is what their parents are most of the time). The William Brown stories, written by a true-blue Conservative, Richmal Crompton, manage to tread that line very successfully, though there is the odd exception, as Derek Turner discusses in this highly entertaining and knowledgeable article on the writer and her work. The story of the Outlaws becoming the "Nasties" and deciding to attack Mr Isaacs's sweet shop is rather unpleasant but has a happy ending, but for many modern readers the unpleasantness negates the ending. It is an odd story, for it shows that Richmal Crompton was fully aware as early as 1934 the sheer nastiness of the Nazi regime, yet decided to make something light-hearted of it. This is not quite the same as William's on-off liking for the Communists as there are no details of Stalinist policy involved.

That is an unusual mis-step on Ms Crompton's part. The other stories are a delight, especially the ones of the thirties. Mr Turner does them justice with one exception: there is no mention of the wonderful Violet Elizabeth Bott. If she knew this she would thcream and thcream until she was thick.

And, of course, while we are on the subject of William Brown and the Outlaws, here is a link to a previous posting by Tory Historian.


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