Miranda Loves: Vintage Classics Arthur Ransome Books

Miranda Loves: Vintage Classics Arthur Ransome Books

One of the lovely Miranda’s Notebook readers, Lizzie, alerted me to the fact that the Swallows and Amazons books by Arthur Ransome have been beautifully republished by Vintage Classics. I noticed the reproductions in a book shop in Weybridge over the weekend, and I was so impressed by the cover designs that is was extremely difficult to resist buying them! I read the Swallows and Amazons series as a child, dreaming of the English countryside, and it’s still a dream of mine to visit the Lake District and follow the footsteps of the Walker and Blackett children. Whenever I do make that holiday a reality, these beautiful editions will no doubt accompany me. In the meantime, I think some Arthur Ransome rereading will be perfect for the summer!

Miranda Loves: Vintage Classics Arthur Ransome Books Miranda Loves: Vintage Classics Arthur Ransome Books debutart_pietari-posti_18743 Miranda Loves: Vintage Classics Arthur Ransome Books

Did you read the Swallows and Amazons books as a child? Do you love the latest editions too?

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  • Lizzie

    I’m so glad you love them!
    I highly recommend a splurge on them as not only are they beautiful but they have some nice extras at the back that describe the Lake District and Ransome’s inspiration for the stories (including – finally! – why on earth he named a character Titty!)
    I love these books for so many reasons, but two of them are:
    1 – they have brilliant girls in them (and excellent boys too). On re-reading Swallows and Amazons as an adult I discovered I’ve been aspiring to be Nancy and Titty for most of my life.
    2 – there is a huge amount of food in them!!! I make bunloaf all the time now, using the recipe in Jane Brocket’s Cherry cake and Ginger Beer book (tho I tend to put more spices in than she recommends, I feel it adds to the general pirates/smugglers/Jamaica Inn theme of the books)

    I’m intrigued to know which is your favourite in the series? At a push, I think I’d plump for Picts & Martyrs or Swallowdale – probably because I’d prefer a hiding place in the woods to a boat – but I could find merits with each book as an individual, which is unusual in a series.

    I wonder if you’ve read a teen book called Blood Red, Snow White by Marcus Sedgwick? He is an excellent writer, and this is an excellent book, but the reason I mention it is because the “hero” of the book is a fictional Arthur Ransome, and the plot centres around the Russian Revolution as witnessed by Ransome when he was in Moscow as a reporter. Prior to reading this, I hadn’t been aware that Ransome had done anything more than potter around on boats, so it was quite eye-opening. I really need to seek out a good biography!

    A final hurrah to Swallows and Amazons – it has my very favourite book illustration!

    • Ha, I love that illustration too! Swallowdale, is my favourite, I think! Although I love Winter Holiday too. You’re right, the girls are terrific in the series. I’d known AR had an interesting life and spent time in Russia (he edited a book of Russian Tales – possibly called Old Peter’s Russian Tales? – which I adored when I was younger), but not that much detail. Sounds intriguing! I haven’t read Blood Red, Snow White – must look out for it! Thanks as always for your fascinating and informative comments, Lizzie! xxx

      • Lizzie

        Miranda, you are a total sweetheart, I don’t think I’ve ever been called “fascinating” and “informative” in the same sentence before!

  • I don’t know this series! I’ll have to give it a look he next time I’m in the library! x

  • I have never heard of this series. I love the covers though! xx

  • mary

    But the old covers are so much nicer! If you do go to the Lake District, you can stay in the house that inspired their holiday home in the book – and run down the field to the lake. It’s exactly as you imagine it, and they do B&B. We didn’t stay, but we did stop for tea and very good cakes.

  • I’ve never even heard of these! I really like the jazzy covers. 🙂

    Tara x

  • Pigeon Post, Winter Holiday, and We didn’t mean to go to Sea were my favourites as a boy growing up in Edinburgh. It wasn’t until I was about 16 that I actually visited the Lake District so these books provided my first impressions of it.

    • I’ve never been to the Lake District so my mental image of the area is almost entirely based on the Ransome books!! Can’t wait to go sometime! xxx

  • Mike

    I first read them when I was 10 and I’m now 62 and still reading them! As for the new covers, I can appreciate them as works of graphic art but the Jonathan Cape original dust-wrappers for the hardback editions are still my favourites.

    • I love the original hardbacks too (and collected them as a young girl)! Considering how frightful many new children’s book covers can be though, I think Vintage have done a great job with these new editions. xxx

      • Mike

        In design terms, the Puffin paperback editions of the 1990s were good too – they used a single Ransome drawing from the book but coloured.

        • Oh I don’t think I’ve seen those! They sound lovely as well. xxx

          • Mike

            Sorry Miranda, I’ve just realised it was the late 1960s! Take a look here
            where there are the covers from most editions, and from most countries where they have been published.
            Some are excellent, some awful!
            As you may have gathered (!) I’m something of a Ransome obsessive and a large of collection of all his Swallows and Amazons series in all their formats!

          • Ha, thanks for linking to this website – it was fun to have a browse! Some of the covers are lovely! xxx