Thursday, January 1, 2009

Arthur Ransome - Swallows and Amazons

Arthur Ransome's children's stories set originally in the Lakes District of England were favourites of me and my brothers when we were growing up. We read the entire series of books, and an abiding fondness for the books drew me to collect them again in adulthood.

Arthur Ransome led a very interesting life as is described in detail on his Wikipedia entry. His second wife Evgenia Petrovna Shelepina was Trotsky's personal secretary. He met her while he was covering the Russian Revolution as a journalist for The Daily News, a radical newspaper of the time.

When he retired from journalism to the Lakes District he began his famous Swallows & Amazons children's books.

He also illustrated them and as you will see in the covers below, his art style is quite exquisite. I love the fresh bright colours and the meticulous design of his drawings and paintings.

Unfortunately I am missing the first book Swallows & Amazons but I did find a copy on the web, so I'm including it here. My puffin editions are the 1968 editions which used Ransome's paintings on the covers.

ransome_swallows_amazons ransome_swallowdale
ransome_cootclub ransome_didn'tmean


ransome_picts ransome_pigeonpost
ransome_bigsix ransome_winter

I don't have the entire series in this edition - either I didn't buy them at the time or they've gone missing.

Next - Alan Garner's Weirdstone of Brisingamen and other fantasies


Thunder said...

I have this same collection, but have always been missing "The Big Six". I've seen the edition you have on the web, but assumed it was a different edition than the others because the others all have blue covers & spines, but The Big Six appears to be yellow. Is the spine of yours light blue or is it yellow?

Anne S said...

The book is yellow all over including the spine. It is the 1970edition.

Katie Edwards said...

I grew up with these covers, except for the first, which had a still from the film instead. They belonged to my parents and were very well-loved, replaced with brightly coloured hardbacks which we were not allowed to borrow until we were older and more careful with books.