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A Lakeland Saga: J Collingwood's account of the Altounyans, Ransome and Aleppo
on 19 September 2012
This is an informative and readable little book well illustrated fot its size. I learned much that I had not already known, from the now many books about Arthur Ransome's life, particularly about the Collingwood family and their links to Ruskin.
But Ransome addicts, like me, will not find the answers to several tantalising aspects of Ransome's complicated relationships with Dora Collingwood/Altounian, Ernest Altounian and their children (the inspiration of his books), and which still remain to be explored further. What was the source of the friction between Ransome and Ernest Altounian? Did Evgenia, Ransome's second wife, play a part in the often strained relationshipos? Was Ransome really a curmudgenly man, disliking children, or the sad never to be parent of Dora's offspring? One feels that the author suppressed his own opinions on these questions.
The history of the hospital in Aleppo, founded by Altounyan's father and later run by Ernest and Dora is fascinating, but we are not told why the Syrian regime destroyed such a valuable amenity