Just William

I haven’t rated/reviewed Just William before?!That’s a shock to me but then I haven’t read it in a while. Just William is a great example of the best of what I will riskily call period British humor. There were plenty of writers like that:the guy who wrote Billy Bunter, W.E. Jones (he wrote this one funny Biggles book) James Herriot and Gerald Durrell. Jerome Klapka Jerome seems to live on albeit as a red flag for the intellectual reader who likes fun. P.G. Wodehouse’s reputation is the only one that seems to flourish in the main stream posthumously, post empire and post 20th century; at least in India and maybe in the libraries of canny (eccentric?) bookworms else where.

Presumably Richmal Crompton was mainstream and modern once upon a time. But that was a long time ago and it seems her day is done. (IS it done? Maybe the good people at Penguin can tell us) But if you will let me be enthusiastic for a second Self what I would really like to do is shout Crompton’s name from the terrace tops. She’s funny- okay, and perceptive and William is hilarious. She can build up a moment and sometimes even if you can see what’s coming it still works. But the happy books, you know, the funny ones- maybe it was a complacent or ignorant time- but books like that from the 1920s and 1930s were so idyllic. They seem to create a settled, secure world:a big part of their charm is that it seems like they were on permanent holiday. Ha! The halcyon day humor writers. Literary period has been named.

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