The Golden Age of Boys' Adventure Literature
August 04, 2008 | Permalink
One reason I believe Ballantyne became a great author is that he grew up around other great authors and would have been reading their works. George Grant said Ballantyne was "born into Edinburgh's great 19th century publishing elite. His family firm published both Sir Walter Scott and Thomas Chalmers. No wonder he knew how to spin a classic yarn!" And that is definitely true. I think that we should look at this time period from 1810 to 1910 as the "Golden Age" of boys' adventure literature. The author that Ballantyne would have known the best and would have been influenced by the most was Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832). One of the greatest authors of his day, Scott wrote such books as the Waverley Novels, and one of my favorites, Ivanhoe. The one hundred years between 1810 and 1910 was really the time of the "boys' novel." This was during the height of the British Empire, when there were young men going out and conquering countries and accomplishing great deeds. Those were the days when you literally "cut your way to the front." It was not uncommon to have young men enter the army as boys, accomplish some great feat, and then settle down as well-to-do men back in England only a few years later. This is what inspired the authors of the time to write invigorating books that would push the boys of the world on to great things.
A few other boys' authors of note from this time period include W.H.G. Kingston (1814-1880), who wrote Peter The Whaler, Robert Louis Stevenson (1850- 1894) who would write The Black Arrow and Treasure Island, and of course G.A. Henty (1832-1902). To the boys and young men of England and even America, these were the literary giants of the age.
"Nothing can be done to prevent that, and men however learned they may be, can never change anything of the cosmographical order established by God Himself." 
"All great actions return to God, from whom they are derived. Captain Nemo, we, whom you have succored, shall ever mourn your loss." 
"The 'Duncan'!" exclaimed Cyrus Harding. And raising his hand to Heaven, he said, "Oh! Almighty God! mercifully hast Thou preserved us!" 
Jules Verne was definitely a man of his time. We do, unfortunately, see evolution in his books, but it is amazing to see the power a predominately Christian culture can have on a man who may not have even been redeemed.