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Down with Skool! Paperback – 3 Sep 1992
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The Molesworth books purport to be instructional manuals by an English public schoolboy named Nigel Molesworth, about how to survive the school experience. From the day the first was published in 1953, they became a wild success, especially with schoolchildren. They are still in print and still eminently applicable (which says something both about the quality of the books, and about the nature of the British school system, which even at that point hadn't changed much in 400 years).
The wild misspelling that permeates them caused hysteria among parents, and their removal from many school libraries (the books, not the parents). Nevertheless, many phrases from them have since gone into the English lexicon, particularly "enuff said" and "as any fule kno".
The quartet consists of:
Down with Skool
How to be Topp
Wizz for Atomms
Back in the Jug Agane
and an omnibus edition,
The Compleet Molesworth, reprinted by Penguin as
These are considered absolute classics in the UK along with gems such as 1066 and all that. Whether they're intelligible to anyone but Britons is another matter; but I didn't think Monty Python would be, and I was wrong about that...
P.S. And should you be wondering (during reading) exactly what Treens might be, they're the myrmidons of that most unforgettable villain The Mekon (whose portrait you can see here), from the wonderful contemporary comic-book series Dan Dare.
Molesworth senior is a great guide to all that happens at St Custard’s school and all who labour in her. You can’t help feeling a certain warmth towards all the masters, parents and fellow students he describes to us. The illustrations are magnificent.
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