Five Fascinating Facts about Just William

An interesting history of the popular children’s books, Just William

In 1922, T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land was published, James Joyce celebrated the publication of his novel Ulysses and Virginia Woolf’s third novel Jacob’s Room appeared. But amongst all this highbrow modernist literature, there was also another literary phenomenon arriving on the scene. He was eleven-year-old English schoolboy William Brown, who would become known to millions of devoted readers as ‘Just William’.

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Interesting Facts about The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

Curious trivia about the classic L. Frank Baum novel The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and its afterlife

Surprisingly, the famous 1939 MGM film The Wizard of Oz was not the first time L. Frank Baum’s book had been adapted. It wasn’t even the second. In fact, the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz was the eighth film adaptation of L. Frank Baum’s original novel: it had already been filmed in 1910, 1914 (three times), 1925, 1932, and 1933, before the lavish movie starring Judy Garland was produced. Despite garnering positive reviews from critics, the 1939 film did poorly at the box office, despite its innovative use of Technicolour. How things have changed. It is now reckoned to be the most-watched film of all time. Salman Rushdie acknowledged the film as his first literary influence: ‘When I first saw The Wizard of Oz it made a writer of me.’

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Five Fascinating Facts about Geoffrey Chaucer

Some fun facts about medieval English poet Geoffrey Chaucer

1. One of Chaucer’s earliest poems was ‘An ABC’, an acrostic which he wrote for people to use in prayer. Like much of Chaucer’s work, ‘An ABC‘ was a Middle English translation of a French work, in this case a prayer written by Guillaume de Deguileville. Each of the 26 eight-line stanzas begins with a successive letter of the alphabet. Probably written in the 1370s, the poem shows Chaucer’s art in its early stages of development. (Chaucer had been born in London around 1343 – the precise date of his birth is not known.)

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Interesting Facts about Leslie Charteris and The Saint

Fun facts about the Saint and his creator, the author Leslie Charteris

The Saint – aka Simon Templar – is a well-known character, both on television and in countless books. But who created him? The author behind the Saint, Leslie Charteris, is as interesting a figure as his most famous fictional creation.

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Interesting Facts about Mrs Dalloway

On Virginia Woolf’s novel Mrs Dalloway

Mrs Dalloway (1925) was Virginia Woolf‘s fourth novel. The original title for the novel wasn’t, in fact, Mrs Dalloway but ‘The Hours’, a title that Michael Cunningham would retrieve and use for his 1998 novel about Mrs Dalloway and Woolf’s own life (this would in turn be adapted for the 2002 film starring Nicole Kidman in a prosthetic nose).

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