Arthur Ransome Trust

Putting Ransome on the Map

A History of Story-telling

Background to A History of Story-telling

Soon after completing Bohemia in London, Ransome went to stay for five weeks with his mother and brother in Edinburgh. Whilst there, he visited an acquaintance, the publisher E C Jack, with the proposal that he edit and Jack publish a book series illustrating the art of story-telling. Jack agreed, and the eleven volume series The World’s Story-tellers was duly published between 1908 and 1910.

As well as editing the series, and translating as required, Ransome also wrote an introduction for each of the eleven volumes. Both he and Jack planned from the start that these introductions could eventually be combined into a single volume, as A History of Story-telling.


As published, A History of Story-telling contains Ransome’s introductions to The World’s Story-tellers, less those for Hoffmann, Flaubert, Daudet and Coppee: the latter three because those titles were not published until 1910.

In writing A History of Story-telling, Ransome was not concerned with dates and facts, but rather with “the development of technique, the conquests of new material, (and) the gradual perfecting of form.

First publication

Published by T C and E C Jack in late 1909.


  • Out of Print

Ransome's drawing of a hand holding a candle, our literary criticism logo, used for A History of Story-telling

I was again worrying over the technique of narrative which I found at once so interesting and so difficult


Also in Literary Criticism

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