Angela Brazil and the Case Of The Verb Vendetta

File:A Popular Schoolgirl - book cover - Project Gutenberg eText 18505.jpg

Angela Brazil taught me a lot of things. There’s a lot of fun to be had with a camp fire and a well meaning lady of suitable class to ‘pash’ on. Don’t go for a walk in the countryside without a handy story on the local mythology. And never ever drive a motor car when you’ve not taken off the brake.

I admit that a lot of her work borders on bonkers now but Angela Brazil retains a very special place in my heart primarily for her mean vocabulary. Take this extract of the first 10 pages from The Luckiest Girl In The School.

sighed Mrs. Woodward / suggested Percy / volunteered Winona / objected Winona / said Percy / replied Mrs. Woodward / she asked her brother / replied that light-hearted youth /  said Winona / she said / interrupted Winona / ejaculated Winona / she exclaimed / wavered Mrs. Woodward / he declared / exclaimed Percy / groaned Winona / flared Winona / teased Percy / said Letty / retorted Winona / said Percy blandly / declared Winona aggrievedly.

Ten pages of solid stuff (with naturally a brief dalliance to describe Winona’s appearance, local flora and fauna) and Brazil practically kills herself before having to use “said” again. It’s amazing. It’s like she has a vendetta against verbs of one syllable.

Brazil is an education and one I recommend most heartily. If she does nothing else, she’ll help out your vocabulary. But do feel free to skip past the interminable “Teacher Regales A Local Legend Whilst The Girls Are On A Nature Walk” chapter – I really won’t judge you as I’ll be doing the exact same thing!

There’s a nice biography of Brazil available here and a ton of her books are available via Project Gutenberg.

6 thoughts on “Angela Brazil and the Case Of The Verb Vendetta

  1. One of my friends took full advantage of Brazil’s works on Project Gutenberg and dived into For the School Colours recently – she was very amused by it, but often in a good way!
    Saying that, we spent most of that weekend being amazed by *that* vocabulary (sometimes brilliant, occasionally bonkers, but never dull!); chalking up scores with School Colours vs. EBD with Exile, Rivals and New; and in hysterics over neglecting Pamela for Lavender Lady love-making and girls with coding machines strapped to their heads. I love GO sometimes, I really do…

    1. OH THE LAVENDER LADY!!! I forget how much that episode cracks me up. “Ohh for you Lavender Lady, I’ll do ANYTHING because you’re so WISE and LOVELY”. You’re so right, these are books that make you remember how brilliant (bonkers) GO literature can be. Oh I love it. Thank you so much for commenting 🙂

    1. Thank you for commenting 🙂 After Brent-Dyer, I think Brazil’s one of my top authors. I always think there’s something to be said for how she practically defined a genre.

  2. I own most if not all Angela Brazil books, mostly in nice early or first editions, but I can’t actually bring myself to read more than one at a time – I can only take so much of her style. Although when I realised that I didn’t actually have to read the ‘interesting stories and legends’ it did make it easier. In the same way as I suddenly realised that I didn’t have to plough through the Christmas plays or Millies’ pantos in the CS books if I didn’t want to…

    1. Aah, that moment when you realise you can just flick past the “local story and legend part” is genuinely liberating isn’t it 😀 Thanks for commenting!

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