Sixty Joyless De-Britished Uncrowned Commonpoor Years (1949-2009)

Elizabeth II Vice-Regal Saint: Remembering Paul Comtois (1895–1966), Lt.-Governor of Québec
Britannic Inheritance: Britain's proud legacy. What legacy will America leave?
English Debate: Daniel Hannan revels in making mince meat of Gordon Brown
Crazy Canucks: British MP banned from Canada on national security grounds
Happy St. Patrick's: Will Ireland ever return to the Commonwealth?
Voyage Through the Commonwealth: World cruise around the faded bits of pink.
No Queen for the Green: The Green Party of Canada votes to dispense with monarchy.
"Sir Edward Kennedy": The Queen has awarded the senator an honorary Knighthood.
President Obama: Hates Britain, but is keen to meet the Queen?
The Princess Royal: Princess Anne "outstanding" in Australia.
H.M.S. Victory: In 1744, 1000 sailors went down with a cargo of gold.
Queen's Commonwealth: Britain is letting the Commonwealth die.
Justice Kirby: His support for monarchy almost lost him appointment to High Court
Royal Military Academy: Sandhurst abolishes the Apostles' Creed.
Air Marshal Alec Maisner, R.I.P. Half Polish, half German and 100% British.
Cherie Blair: Not a vain, self regarding, shallow thinking viper after all.
Harry Potter: Celebrated rich kid thinks the Royals should not be celebrated
The Royal Jelly: A new king has been coronated, and his subjects are in a merry mood
Victoria Cross: Australian TROOPER MARK DONALDSON awarded the VC
Godless Buses: Royal Navy veteran, Ron Heather, refuses to drive his bus
Labour's Class War: To expunge those with the slightest pretensions to gentility
100 Top English Novels of All Time: The Essential Fictional Library
BIG BEN: Celebrating 150 Years of the Clock Tower

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Rattling Good Yarns for Dreaming Boys

G. A. Henty (1832-1902), the great author imperialist whose life closely paralleled the reign of Queen Victoria (1837-1901), and whose works addressed many of her accomplishments and certainly the spirit of her rule, pioneered adventure and historical fiction and inspired boys of reading age. He combined the two into a remarkable series of action novels and short stories that accurately portrayed the background of the British Empire in its glory years while weaving in a young hero whose interaction with large world events entertained the reader while educating. He followed on the heels of Walter Scott, and developed his special genre to a point where scores of others looked to him for a blueprint.

Henty did even more than developing a great literary contribution. He brought the Empire to its citizens all over the globe. Through reading his novels, friends of England learned of the breath of the Empire and the moral values of loyalty, courage, dedication, and honesty. The exhilaration produced by the tales still inspire new generations of readers both young and old, not to mention collectors and educators, and earned Henty accolades like "The Prince of Story-Tellers" and "The Boy's Own Historian."

During the 1880’s Henty books started to appear with regularity and create much anticipation among the large readership of older boys. With his books, Henty stirred many a youth’s interest in history. As an amateur historian and a writer of prose, he won over 25 million readers and became perhaps the first blockbuster author. Some similarities abound in the novels. Most feature a male hero in his middle to late teens. There are varieties of family misfortune, timely acts to save a life, rescues of young girls, captures, escapes, rewards, legacies, battles, and liaisons with historic figures. Happy endings abound, and the hero often ends up the husband of a fair damsel. In sea stories, the boys often start as midshipmen, and in land campaigns they might take on the duties of drummer boys. Medieval boys serve as pages, but in practically all cases the hero is of British descent.

Henty’s stories were influential on the generation that fought World War I — F. Scott Fitzgerald describes his protagonist in “This Side of Paradise” as having “all the Henty biases in history” — and continued to reach and inspire later readers, including historians A.J.P. Taylor and Barbara Tuchman and novelist Mordecai Richler.

In sum total G. A. Henty inspired six or seven generations to a study of history. He entertained millions and fathered a literary genre that features adventure and history combined into a historic novel. He wrote many more books than even the most prolific of authors and lived a life of adventure and danger that gave him license to speak of war and action. At least another six or seven generations will eagerly read Henty books.

- Adapted from G. A. Henty, An Introduction

Hat tip to Greg Benton


Younghusband said...

I'm spending a stressful holiday in Germany so haven't been on site for some while- I've missed a lot! Look forward to finally getting home and into the swing of things (even if in hateful Beijing) and once more able to peruse this site properly.

Anonymous said...

I hate to speak offtopically, but the link on the side to the Australian Labor Party in fact links to the Freedom Party of the UK. It should be Also, you seem to missing a reference to the Governor of New South Wales.

mueja said...


Anonymous said...

As a francophone, I can't wait to read With Wolfe in Canada. Speaking of Wolfe, I was in Quebec City last weekend. I visited St-Andrews Presbyterian Church (raised by Fraser Highlanders soldiers in 1759) and the first anglican cathedral built outside the British Isles. Actually it was built in 1804. I think the name is Holy Trinity.

Anonymous said...

It's me again. This is St.Andrew's web site :

I'll send Holy Trinity's one as soon as I find it.


French-Canadian Royaliste

Anonymous said...

And there's the Holy Trinity Cathedral's Web site :

I must go downstairs doing some stationnary bike while reading Kipling's poems.

I really read them because I like Kipling's works a lot.