Thursday, October 15, 2009

Racy, manly, suggestive

Elf has been reading selections from Stories of Grit to the boys at night. Dating back to 1925, it contains chapters such as Edward Bok -The Dutch Boy who became a Great Editor, and Francis Parkman - A Sick Man who Never Gave Up.

In the back is a long list of other improving books for young people. One of them, Look Straight Ahead, has six reviews, and half of them use the word "racy". Another book, Sensible Religion, claims to be "an attempt to explain some difficulties in religion and Life to Senior Students at School, and to show, by racy illustrations, that the highest things are in reality surprisingly interesting".

Maybe "racy" meant something slightly different in 1925, or perhaps these authors were just trying to mix it up a bit. One thing is for sure - it was the golden age of Muscular Christianity. Here are some of the other works listed in the back pages;
  • The Starved Top-Knot - "Straightforward, manly chats…"

  • Be A Sport - "…straight and admirable talks without being preachy…"

  • God's Gentlemen - Vigorous Sermons to Young Men - "…frank and manly book…"

  • Chats With Boys - "Brief, straight, manly messages".

  • The Gate of Pearl - "Direct manly teaching with bright illustrations"

  • Chats With My Chums - "…ornamental end papers and effective cover jacket…"

  • Homely Talks With Mothers "…even experienced workers will find much in its pages that is suggestive"

  • The Sparrows in the Organ - "Twenty-six talks with Boys and Girls".

  • The Date Boy of Baghdad - "With introduction by Sir Robert Stout, P.C., K.C.M.G., Chief Justice of New Zealand"

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