I'm not going to put spoilers because I don't think I'm giving away any of
the plot.

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Barbara Dryden" <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
I'm glad you partly enjoyed No Boats on Bannermere, Barbara!

>Then there are hits
> at the boarding school story, with Bill wondering why writers never set
> books in day schools (they did, of course)

Of course there were some, but I think not very many by the 1940s, and even
fewer set at boys' days schools, which was the part of the genre I suppose
Trease was more familiar with.

I agree that Sir Arthur is not one of his most successful characters.
Personally I think the books get better later in the series, and I'd be
interested in what you think of The Gates of Bannerdale, for example.

> Sally's interesting introduction to the book explains a lot. I do think
> that Trease had a rather high opinion of himself as a writer of
> stories for children. In fact, Arthur Ransome had got there years before
> Trease even started writing.

Oh, not that long!  Swallows and Amazons was only 1930, 4 years before
Trease's first book was published, and none of Ransome's handful of previous
children's books were in the least bit unusual or different.  In Tales Out
of School, Trease himself said about Ransome "The outstanding literary
landmark of this period is Arthur Ransome.  His name will go on into the
short list of writers like Talbot Baines Reed, who have deflected the stream
of fiction into new channels.  What Reed did for the school term, Mr Ransome
did for the holidays."  But, personally, I do think Ransome is much more a
"safe" kind of writer, in that he only wrote one kind of book, whereas
Trease was much more ambitious in trying his hand at a variety of types and
settings, and also trying to introduce a world-view that was almost
unrepresented in fiction for children at the time - Ransome didn't challenge
any prevailing world-view, he just ignored it.  Sometimes Trease's approach
certainly doesn't come off, but for me (and of course not for everyone!) it
very often does.

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