Welcome to the Historical Fiction Online forums: a friendly place to discuss, review and discover historical fiction.
If this is your first visit, please be sure to check out the FAQ by clicking the link above.
You will have to register before you can post: click the register link above to proceed.
To start viewing posts, select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.

G A Henty

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

G A Henty

Post by Kveto from Prague » Tue January 4th, 2011, 3:41 pm

perusing the free books available, there seems a lot written by Henty. His topics and subject matter look interesting. anybody read his stuff?

SGM
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Tue January 4th, 2011, 5:12 pm

,Yes I came across him referred to in the Jonathan Nield book along with Brebner, Quiller Couch, G P R James and many more but I only have time to concentrate on 17th century stuff. Lots of them are free
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

annis
Bibliomaniac
Posts: 4585
Joined: August 2008

Post by annis » Tue January 4th, 2011, 6:41 pm

For some reason I never came across his work when I was a kid - he didn't seem to be on the library shelves in the Children's section along with Sutcliff, Trease, Treece, Captain W E Johns and the other authors whose books I devoured. I see that quite a few of Henty's novels have been reissued in recent times.

Henty is generally regarded as being of the Victorian Imperial school of boys' fiction, focusing on manly deeds, duty and selfless heroism. He actually led a pretty adventurous life himself. I came across this article about him a while ago which you might find interesting:

G.A. Henty: The Apostle of Heroism
http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=405

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Tue January 4th, 2011, 9:03 pm

[quote=""annis""]For some reason I never came across his work when I was a kid - he didn't seem to be on the library shelves in the Children's section along with Sutcliff, Trease, Treece, Captain W E Johns and the other authors whose books I devoured. I see that quite a few of Henty's novels have been reissued in recent times.

Henty is generally regarded as being of the Victorian Imperial school of boys' fiction, focusing on manly deeds, duty and selfless heroism. He actually led a pretty adventurous life himself. I came across this article about him a while ago which you might find interesting:

G.A. Henty: The Apostle of Heroism
http://www.wvwnews.net/story.php?id=405[/quote]

thanks for the article, annis.

yeah i figured hes in the "ra-ra hooray for the british empire" mould that geoffrey trease was rebelling against. but its his choice of subject matter that interested me. a quick look though his titles showed:

the 30 years war
luddites
paris commune
gustavus adolfus of sweden
nihilists
charles the 12th of sweden
malay pirates

and even a book called "true to the old flag" a story about a loyalist in the american revolution.

great subject matter if nothing else.

User avatar
Jack
Reader
Posts: 80
Joined: September 2008
Location: California

Post by Jack » Sat January 8th, 2011, 8:02 pm

I assigned Henty on a few occasions when I was teaching in Jr High and also to freshmen who hadn't much of a reading background. He was pretty well received by the kids. His stuff has some good action, and his wording is somehow captivating. He's a lost treasure to younger readers.

SGM
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Sun January 9th, 2011, 9:54 am

The Henty that gets a mention in 1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up is -- With Clive in India.

I have always thought that topics covered in Henty's books and others like him reflected the history curriculum of boys' public schools at the time they were written. It doesn't mean that some of them don't still cover topics that are interesting and relevant today and can be read and enjoyed by girls as well -- but our emphasis has moved on obviously.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Post by Kveto from Prague » Mon January 10th, 2011, 6:50 pm

it seems all of his stuff is available online.

hentytapes
Newbie
Posts: 2
Joined: January 2011

Audio Books Available

Post by hentytapes » Tue January 11th, 2011, 5:41 pm

Hey!

I am a HUGE fan of Henty, so much so that I started my own audio book company just to record his books for posterity. They are historically accurate, family-safe, entertaining and exciting books. Sure, they are written by an unapologetic cheerleader for the British Empire. Aren't all authors reflecting their world view in their writing? If you think you'd like to listen instead of read, you can download unabridged recordings of these great books at http:JimHodgesAudioBooks.com

~ Jim Hodges

User avatar
Kveto from Prague
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 919
Joined: September 2008
Location: Prague, Bohemia

Henty so far

Post by Kveto from Prague » Sun May 6th, 2012, 9:06 am

I've been on a Henty kick lately with my kindle as there is much to choose from with him. After reading a few I can see why he is both liked and disliked.

What attracted me to his books was his wide range of settings. he seemed to write about so many different interesting periods of history. Ive so far read about luddites, charles the 12th, jacobite exiles, paris commune, British loyalists in the american revolution and thats just the tip of the iceberg.

that said, his writing style can be quite bland. it often feels like an old newspaper story often just dealing with the facts rather than going into much depth of description. this might be the result of him trying to write to his audience, young boys, who might get bored with too much detail. but even his battle scenes are of the "blink and you missed it" variety.

His protagonists all seem cut from the same cloth. young british boys who have little conflict and always do the right thing. their level of competence is astounding really. It often just feels like the same boy in different time periods and dress.

He's also not too good at presenting both sides of and issue. So far, the protagoists side is right, no shades of gray. If its the brits against anyone else, the brits are in the right, no ifs ands or buts. Only in the "Jacobite exile" did the swedes and russians get fair treatment. In "into the fray", our young public school hero who inherits a factory doesn't seem interested in finding out what motivates his lower class employees. the luddites just sabotage factories and must be stopped.

His hero in "Jacobite exile" could have been interesting, an Engllish jacobite forced to flee to join the swedish army when his father is falsely accused. But almost sadly, by the end of the book, the hero has come around, decides his father's loyalty to the Stuarts didn't get them anything and happily accepts the new german king.

Which is leading me to see what he does when hes away from the fomula. Im looking forward to reading "a girl of the commune" just to see what he does with a female protagonist.

Also, I just started reading "in freedoms cause" about william wallace. I was really curious to see which "side" Henty would take in a pre-british empire story. Interestingly, the scots are the clear heroes and Henty has not shied away from showing English atrocities by the bucket-load. Now it would be hard to paint Edward I in a good light in these wars, he's clearly an unprovoked aggressor. What interested me is that Henty tries to point out how the English historians of his time were unfair to the Scots. He points out that, at that time, Scotand was much more civilized and well-to-do (his words) than England after enjoying the peace of Alexander's reign. While England had been engaged in constant wars with Wales, France and their own barons for the previous hundred years under Edward and his predecessors.

Anyway, I'll keep reading his stuff for a while. Its not bad just not always good. its nothing like Geoffrey Trease's more in depth approach to young readers literature but has its merits nonetheless.

SGM
Compulsive Reader
Posts: 699
Joined: March 2010

Post by SGM » Sun May 6th, 2012, 10:21 am

I think you have to dig a little deeper in Henty's background, rather than just attribute him as being a "Ra Ra British Empire writer". Henty died in 1902 and seems to me to be very much a product of Whig History which was so very prevalent in the UK during the 19th Century (hence his epilogue to Friends Though Divided. There was little or no professional scholarship in History (and, in fact, no few, if any, dedicated History departments within Academia) until very late in the 19th century. The UK was still 20-years or so away from manhood suffrage, and even farther from universal suffrage at the time Henty was writing.

Trease was born around about the time that Henty died and obviously reflects twentieth-century views in a way that Henty could not.

That is not to say that Henty was not recommended reading within the boys' public school system here for quite some time after his death -- he most definitely was.

Trease was a product of a very different time and has a very much more left-wing approach. But you can hardly blame Henty for not taking a more Marxist approach when that was still in the making. He reflects the Whig tradition (rather than than the British Empire tradition suggested) just as Trease reflects a more left-wing approach appropriate for his time.

Yes, I prefer Trease, but he is a rather light read and I don't think it is really fair to compare the two writers. They are just products of different environments and centuries.
Currently reading - Emergence of a Nation State by Alan Smith

Post Reply

Return to “By Author”