Posted on 10/07/2012
Richmal Crompton (1890-1969)
BA Classics, 1914 Royal Holloway College
The novelist Richmal Crompton is famous for the Just William books about the mischievous 11-year-old schoolboy and his band of friends. Over 50 years she published 39 collections of stories, which sold over twelve million copies in the United Kingdom and were translated into nine languages. They have been adapted for films, stage-plays, and BBC radio and television series. In 2010 fellow alumnus Simon Nye adapted the stories for a new television version. Richmal Crompton saw her real work as writing adult fiction and she wrote 41 novels for adults and published nine collections of short-stories. Their focus was generally Edwardian middle-class family and social life, dwelling on the constraints that they place on individuals while also nurturing them. This is best seen in her depiction of children as puzzled onlookers of society's ways. Nevertheless, the children, particularly William and his friends, almost always emerge triumphant.