Read The Winslow Boy by Terence Rattigan Free Online
Book Title: The Winslow Boy|
Date of issue: September 1st 2000
ISBN 13: 9781854594679
The author of the book: Terence Rattigan
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 667 KB
Edition: Nick Hern Books
Read full description of the books The Winslow Boy:In 1908, a British boy of about 14, George Archer Shee [a double last name, and pronounced "Shay"], from a respectable but not rich family, was expelled from the Osborne Naval College after being falsely accused of stealing a five-shilling postal money order from a fellow cadet. (The administrators assumed his guilt and made no real attempt to investigate.) He and his family maintained his innocence, convinced one of England's leading lawyers to take the case, and brought suit against the Admiralty for redress (an uphill battle from the start, since agencies of the British government could not be sued in British courts without their own consent!). Four days into what became a high-profile trial, the Crown counsel conceded George's innocence. (Sadly, young George lived to be only 19, dying in World War I at the first battle of Ypres.)
Acclaimed 20th-century British playwright Terence Rattigan took this real-life incident as the basis for this play, changing the names of the people involved (George Archer Shee becomes Ronnie Winslow, for instance), and changing some details, some character's ages, etc., and fictionalizing some plot lines, but keeping the essential premise intact. The result is a very powerful and engrossing drama, set against the background of the Edwardian era with its strict social conventions and its almost-vanished codes of personal integrity and honor. It's a David vs. Goliath tale, with messages about the value of truth and defending one's good name, about justice and fairness in the way people are treated by those in power, about family loyalty, moral courage, and willingness to sacrifice in a good cause. Rattigan doesn't give us the courtroom scenes here, focusing instead on the family relationships and interpersonal dynamics of the characters. Two of the latter who stand out the most are Ronnie's older sister Catherine, a suffragette and social rule-breaker with a heart for justice, and staid conservative legal titan (and opponent of women's suffrage, from his seat in Parliament) Sir Robert Morton. (view spoiler)[Except for a mutual dedication to justice, they're opposites from the get-go (and you know the old saying about opposites.... :-) ). (hide spoiler)]
This was required reading in my English class in the spring semester of my sophomore year in high school, and it's stayed with me ever since (though I'd forgotten the author's name and title until recently). It's been filmed several times; I've never been fortunate enough to see any of those productions (nor any live one), but I'd really like to see the 1990 TV movie version with Emma Thompson as Catherine!
Since I haven't read or watched any of Rattigan's other plays, I can't say how typical this one is of his output. On the strength of this work alone, though, I'd say he deserves a place in the history of the English theater of the 20th century. This is a work that stands out, especially in its beacon-like moral clarity, in contrast to the bleak nihilism of so much English-language drama in the later 20th century. To my chagrin, I've discovered that Rattigan is largely (or maybe completely!) unrepresented in Bluefield College's library collection. That's a gap I'm definitely going to remedy!)
Read information about the authorSir Terence Mervyn Rattigan, CBE was a British dramatist. He was one of England's most popular mid twentieth century dramatists. His plays are typically set in an upper-middle-class background. He is known for such works as The Winslow Boy (1946), The Browning Version (1948), The Deep Blue Sea (1952) and Separate Tables (1954), among many others.
A troubled homosexual, who saw himself as an outsider, his plays "confronted issues of sexual frustration, failed relationships and adultery", and a world of repression and reticence.
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