Thursday, 26 October 2017

Reading By Degrees

There have been ructions at Oxford University about which authors should be dealt with in English Studies. It has always been necessary to be selective because many scribble but few are chosen.

Sales figures are not one of the key reasons for some obscure reason despite the economic implications and the fact that the big sellers are the ones who keep the literary world afloat.

May I nominate as one who fits the bill, Leslie Charteris, 1907-1993, author of the very popular "Saint" novels of which so many made it on to film and TV?

Perhaps it might be hokum for the most part but for spotty teenagers of the mid 20th Century it was worth pawing through the pages.

He was born Leslie Charles Bowyer-Yin in Singapore and after a short stint at Cambridge took off for an interesting life living off his literary earnings.

He changed his surname legally in 1928 taking the surname of a Colonel Francis Charteris, 1675-1732, a Scotsman who also lived an eventful life. Wikipedia has the basic information on both of them.

I suspect that if faced with a detailed study of the life, times and essential philosophies of these men our present students may find it all a little too much.


  1. It's not only sales figures but quantity with Leslie Charteris. Plenty there for students to go at.

  2. Leslie changed his name in 1926 but other than that, I completely agree with you!