Crikey, Or­well, you rot­ter!

The Oldie - - READER'S LETTERS -

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

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