‘Trease be with all of those who value libraries and woe betide those who don’t…’
Special power: Equality
Comic Release Date: Jan 2015
Geoffrey Trease (1909 – 1998) was born in Nottingham, the son of a wine merchant, and started his literary career early, writing a three act play that was performed while he was still a student at Nottingham High School.
He won a scholarship to university but found the teaching uninspiring and went to London to try his luck as a writer, working with slum children by day while composing his first novel, Bows Against The Barons (1934) a novel that rewrote the Robin Hood story from the common folks’ rather than the aristocrats’ viewpoint.
Although mostly ignored in England and America at the time, it became a massive bestseller in the Soviet Union. Trease visited the country in 1935 to collect royalties. In later years, he extended his formula of accurately researched history, strong lead roles for both male and female characters and stirring adventure to other eras, including Ancient Greece (in The Crown of Violet), Elizabethan England (in Cue for Treason) and the French and Russian Revolutions (in Thunder of Valmy and The White Nights of St Petersburg respectively).
Although he moved to Colwall, Great Malvern, after his marriage to Marian Boyer in 1933, the non-conformist views of his Nottingham birth-place continued to shape his ideas.
Geoffrey Trease Facts
1: Geoffrey Trease published 113 books before he decided to ‘call it a day’ in 1997, at the ripe old age of 88.
2: During the 1930s Trease was a member of the ‘Promethean Society’, a radical socialist group named after the Greek hero who defied the Ancient Gods to bring fire to humanity.
3: The lead character of Bows Against The Barons, a peasant boy named Dickon, was quickly recognised as a new kind of hero in young reader’s fiction and proved hugely influential on other writers and film-makers.
4: As well as historical novels Geoffrey Trease wrote modern-day school stories, plays for film and television and a practical guide to creative writing aimed at young people.
5: When Dickon first meets Robin Hood in Bows Against the Barons, he calls him ‘sir’, only to be told off by the outlaw: “We're comrades in Sherwood, all equal. What's the sense of getting rid of one master and taking a new one?”