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Commentary: Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

From Clothes in Books

Either you love Swallows & Amazons or you don’t – they seem to induce strong feelings.

I’ve recently been praising Ferdinand Mount and his writings on books, but on Ransome we disagree: he says the books are ‘to be avoided with horror and loathing by any young person with the slightest vestige of humour or subversion’ and he longs for the children therein to be ‘deported to the island in Lord of the Flies.’ He criticizes their middle-classness, their sanitized world – which, tbh, you think he probably shared. Given his background, he hasn’t really got the workingclass credentials to mock child siblings who sail together and play together.

I, on the other hand, am a child of the city, and sailing would have seemed as unlikely as flying in my childhood, but I loved every word of this whole series, and borrowed them repeatedly from the library…

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