Frank Richards: The Chap Behind the Chums (Mary Cadogan)

Frank Richards: The Chap Behind the Chums (Mary Cadogan) lands on the shelves of my shop, where it will be found in my Biography section. priced at just £4.00!

London: Viking, 1988, (First Edition) Hardback in dust wrapper.

Contains: Black & white drawings; Cartoons; Appendices [5];

From the cover: Charles Harold St John Hamilton, better known to us as Frank Richards, the begetter of Greyfriars School, died on Christmas Eve in 1961. Shy, scholarly and withdrawn, he has nevertheless exerted a widespread and long-lasting influence, and his larger-than-life anti-hero. Billy Bunter, is now firmly established as a household name.

Frank Richards was a literary phenomenon. The most prolific writer in the English language, he achieved a published output of at least 72,000,000 words of fiction (the equivalent of a thousand novels), and works under his various pseudonyms are still coming to light. He produced Westerns, romances, marine adventures and detective mysteries, but it is his witty and addictive school stories that have become legendary. These were written mainly for the Magnet and the Gem, weekly papers that, eighty years after their inception, are still reprinted and avidly collected because of Frank Richardss stories. Three generations of readers have been inspired by manly schoolboy heroes like Harry Wharton of Greyfriars and Tom Merry of St Jims or complex sophisticates such as the showy Bounder, Herbert Vernon-Smith, or the mocking and fastidious Ralph Reckness Cardew.

His female characters also have their following. These range from squealing sillies like the obese and arrogant Bessie Bunter to man-hating school-mistress martinets and a few ripping girls who arouse undying (but unconsummated!) passion in the breasts of the Greyfriars boys.

When Frank Richards was not punching out his copy, his favourite relaxations were the contrasting activities of gambling and translating the classics or concocting Latin crosswords. Much has been written about him, but he remains a surprisingly shadowy figure. In Frank Richards: The Chap Behind the Chums Mary Cadogan discusses the literary quality and social attitudes of the stories and some reasons for their resilient appeal. In doing so she has also built up a detailed portrait of this engaging, enigmatic and immensely talented author.

Very Good in Very Good Dust Wrapper.

Green boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 258 pages. Index. 9½” x 6½”.


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