Arthur Ransome Trust

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Old Peter Reaches One Hundred Not Out


Old Peter’s Russian Tales, Arthur Ransome’s classic volume of Russian folk lore, was first published a hundred years ago. The exact date is no longer known, but it was in either November or December, 1916.

It remained in print until December, last year, when the then publisher Jane Nissen retired and withdrew her edition. But it will be available again from 21 December this year, as we re-publish Old Peter alongside The War of the Birds and the Beasts, Ransome’s second collection of Russian folk tales. ART’s new edition will be the first to bring both books together. It is also the first fruit of our Buried Treasure publishing project.

The combined volume is available by mail-order from our new Shop, priced at £9.00.

oprt-front-cover-reducedIt contains 32 stories, over fifty drawings by Faith Jaques, and a new introduction by Hugh Lupton. Hugh is ideally placed to consider old Peter’s significance, for he is both Arthur Ransome’s great-nephew and one of Britain’s leading professional story-tellers.

We are hugely grateful to Christina Hardyment, Arthur Ransome’s Senior Executor for her permission to re-publish both books in this single volume. Our thanks are also due to Hugh, for his excellent introduction, to Angela Lett, for her permission to use Faith’s illustrations, and to Professor Hugh Brogan for his advice and support. Professor Brogan edited the first edition of The War of the Birds and the Beasts for Ransome’s own centenary, in 1984. It is at his suggestion that we have slightly altered the original title from “War” to “Battle”. As you will see – if you purchase the book! – the latter is a more accurate description for the titanic fight between the bear and the fire-bird described by Ransome.

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