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Swallows and Amazons is a children's adventure novel by English author Arthur Ransome and first published on 21 July by Jonathan Cape. It is the first book in the Swallows and Amazons series , followed by Swallowdale. At the time, Ransome had been working as a journalist with the Manchester Guardian , but decided to become a full-time author rather than go abroad as a foreign correspondent.
He did continue to write part-time for the press, however. The book was inspired by a summer spent by Ransome teaching the children of his friends, the Altounyans, to sail. Three of the Altounyan children's names are adopted directly for the Walker family. Ransome and Ernest Altounyan bought two small dinghies called Swallow and Mavis. Ransome kept Swallow until he sold it a number of years later, while Mavis remained in the Altounyan family and is now on permanent display in the Ruskin Museum.
However, later in life Ransome tried to downplay the Altounyan connections, changing the initial dedication of Swallows and Amazons and writing a new foreword which gave other sources.
The book relates the outdoor adventures and play of two families of children. These involve sailing, camping, fishing, exploration and piracy. They sail a borrowed dinghy named Swallow and meet the Blackett children Nancy and Peggy , who sail a dinghy named Amazon.
The Walkers camp on an island in the lake, while the Blacketts live in their house nearby. When the children meet, they agree to join forces against a common enemy — the Blacketts' uncle Jim Turner whom they call "Captain Flint" after the parrot in Treasure Island. Turner, normally an ally of his nieces, has withdrawn from their company to write his memoirs, and has become decidedly unfriendly.
Furthermore, when the Blacketts let off a firework on his houseboat roof, it is the Walkers who get the blame. He refuses even to listen when they try to pass on a warning to him about burglars in the area. To determine who should be the overall leader in their campaign against Captain Flint, the Blacketts and the Walkers have a contest to see which can capture the others' boat.
As part of their strategy, the Walkers make a dangerous crossing of the lake by night, and John is later cautioned by his mother for this reckless act. During the same night Titty hears suspicious voices coming from a different island — Cormorant Island — and in the morning it transpires that Turner's houseboat has been burgled.
Turner again blames the Walkers, but is finally convinced that he is mistaken and feels he was wrong to distance himself from his nieces' adventures all summer. The following day, there is a mock battle between Turner and the children, after which Turner is tried for his crimes and forced to walk the plank on his own houseboat. They agree at the post-battle feast that on the final day of their holidays, Titty and Roger will go back to Cormorant Island while the others go fishing.
Titty finds the trunk, which contains the memoirs on which Turner had been working, and is rewarded with Turner's green parrot. James Turner appears in some ways to be modelled on Ransome himself. The story, set in August , includes a good deal of everyday Lakeland life from the farmers to charcoal burners working in the woods; corned beef , which the children fancifully refer to as pemmican , and ginger beer and lemonade , which they call grog , appear as regular food stuff for the campers; island life also allows for occasional references to the story of Robinson Crusoe.
See also List of characters in Arthur Ransome books. According to Ransome, every place in his book can be found in the Lake District, but he took different locations and placed them in different ways: the lake is a fictionalised version of Windermere but the surrounding countryside more closely resembles that around Coniston.
Holly Howe, the farmhouse of the Jacksons where the Swallows stay, is based on Bank Ground Farm,  which exists to this day. It was featured in the film. The main town on the lake is called Rio by the children but has a "native name"; it is based on the twin towns of Bowness-on-Windermere and Windermere on Lake Windermere.
They call the main fell or mountain near the Lake Kanchenjunga the Amazons' parents and uncle called it the Matterhorn ; it is based on the " Old Man of Coniston " near Coniston Water. The artist chosen for the first edition of the book was Steven Spurrier , but Ransome objected to his style and so the first edition did not have any illustrations.
Spurrier's drawing for the dust jacket had to be used. The second edition contained drawings by Clifford Webb but after Ransome successfully illustrated Peter Duck himself, he decided to do his own drawings for all the books, including those already published, and Webb's drawings were replaced in later editions. Reviewing the book for the U. For children alone can properly judge their worth, and children, very wisely, never review. An adult has to refer back to his own childhood and ask himself: Would I have enjoyed such a book then?
The answer, in the case of Swallow and Amazons , [sic] is very definitely, Yes. Moreover, the book is entirely charming quite apart from its qualities as child literature. This is rare; for, generally speaking, nothing makes drearier reading than the conscious juvenility of adults. Ransome has the same magical power that Lewis Carroll had of being the child in terms of himself. He never talks down; never finds it necessary to be patronising or sentimental. And sentimentality is the most terrible pitfall that besets those who venture into the world of play.
And the story of their adventures on a little island in the middle of an English lake is thrilling just because it is not fabulous. Swallows and Amazons contains no sorcery; its plot is plausible, its characters ordinary children. Therein lies its enduring magic. A celebration of friendship, imagination, fair play, and exploration, Swallows and Amazons inspires even the most landlocked kid to dream of messing about in boats, building fires, camping out and navigating by the stars.
The book was adapted by Barbara Sleigh. The series was directed by Peter Saunders. The film starred Virginia McKenna Mrs. The film was directed by Philippa Lowthorpe and written by Andrea Gibb. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the novel. For other uses, see Swallows and Amazons disambiguation. Novels portal. The Guardian. Retrieved 26 October April Retrieved 25 May Jonathan Cape. The Washington Post. Retrieved 17 January British Film Institute.
Archived from the original on 12 November Retrieved 10 June David Wood. Retrieved 18 May Time Out. Retrieved 6 September Retrieved 24 January Daily Telegraph, December 8, ".
The Daily Telegraph. Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome. Coots in the North. TV, Swallows and Amazons Film, Characters Nancy Blackett Places. Categories : Fiction set in British novels children's books British adventure novels British children's novels British novels adapted into films Jonathan Cape books Swallows and Amazons series Novels set in the Lake District Novels set on islands.
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Swallows and Amazons
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The Swallows and Amazons series of children's books by Arthur Ransome is named after the title of the first book in the series. The 12 books involve adventures by groups of children during school vacations, mostly in England and Scotland , between the two World Wars. The stories revolve around outdoor activities, especially sailing. The series remains popular for its idyllic, yet often realistic, depiction of childhood and the interplay between youthful imagination and reality. It is part of the basis for a large tourist industry in the Lake District and Norfolk Broads , where many of the books are set.
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Swallows And Amazons Book Series
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