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William Tell Told Again was published by A & C Black in 1904 (‘Black’s Beautiful Books for Boys and Girls’), and is now extremely rare.

4 November 2009

12:00 AM

4 November 2009

12:00 AM

William Tell Told Again P. G. Wodehouse

William Tell Told Again was published by A & C Black in 1904 (‘Black’s Beautiful Books for Boys and Girls’), and is now extremely rare.

William Tell Told Again was published by A & C Black in 1904 (‘Black’s Beautiful Books for Boys and Girls’), and is now extremely rare. In substance it is a reworking of the Swiss tale from a humorous angle. This was long before Jeeves and Bertie, Lord Emsworth, Mr Mulliner and Ukridge, and before even most of the school stories (Mike only appeared in 1909, five years after William Tell). Evelyn Waugh wrote in 1941: ‘Collectors prize as bibliographical rarities such early works as William Tell Told Again and Swoop, but it is impossible to discern in them any promise of what was to come.’ Not quite impossible: there are occasional signs of the Hand of the Master. Consider this passage, describing the first meeting of William Tell and the tyrant Gessler:

Gessler came riding up on his brown horse, and the crowd melted away in all directions, for there was no knowing what the Governor might not do if he found them plotting. They were determined to rebel and to throw off his tyrannous yoke, but they preferred to do it quietly and comfortably, when he was nowhere near.


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