Well, the book display of Marjon’s authors is up, but I still have a lot more books to talk about. And that brings me to George Manville Fenn. Fenn was a student when the St John College was still called Battersea Training School; He was one of the first teachers that were trained here. He turned to writing, mostly adventure novels both for boys and adults. And man, what a list that is! He rivals DeFoe in the number of published books. In our collection there is ‘The Grand Chaco’ one of his books for the younger audience. It tells the story of teen-aged Rob Harlow as he travels up the Grand Chaco in Paraguay and all the exciting incidents that befall him.
When I lived under the metaphorical rock (long time ago, far away AND with no internet access), I would eat up books like that. We all know the story: a boy goes into the world, meets people, has adventures and sees all the wonders of the world- no surprises there. But that was not the point. In my days and the days before me, if you wanted to learn about far-away lands you either buried yourself under dry descriptions in encyclopaedia or read that kind of books. They would tell you how would you go about hunting a jaguar or catching a local fish; What sunrise would look in the deepest jungle and what kind of people would live in that place. Granted, those books don’t age well, some things would make you go ‘ow, my modern sensibilities!’. Still they contain the delight of looking at a different reality, be it thousands of miles away or hundreds of years ago, most often both.
Also, no post next week as I am walking in Mendip Hills.