Crikey, Orwell, you rotter!
SIR: Following recent items in The Oldie about Billy Bunter, it is worth recalling that, in 1940, in Horizon magazine, George Orwell wrote an essay entitled ‘Boys Weeklies’, in which the B B stories came under heavy fire. The essay included the remark that ‘The stories in the Magnet are signed “Frank Richards” and those in the Gem “Martin Clifford”, but a series lasting 30 years could hardly be the work of the same person every week.’
This of course was wrong and Horizon in a following issue gave the author Charles Hamilton space to defend the attack on his work – which he did with entertaining verve. In a direct answer to the authorship jibe, he wrote, ‘In the presence of such authority, I speak with diffidence and can only say that, to the best of my knowledge and belief, I am only one person and have never been two or three.’ The full versions of Orwell’s essay and Hamilton’s response are both well worth reading. John Evans, Abingdon, Oxfordshire