The 1929-1930-1931 paradox is described in simple terms by Arthur Ransome scholar Bill Wright:
- In Swallows and Amazons (SA), the treaty of offence and defence signed by the Swallows and the Amazons is dated "August 1929." There are many instances in Swallowdale (SD) that refer to action from SA as happening the previous year, but the card left on the summit of Kanchenjunga is dated "11 August 1931." Which year, therefore, is correct for SA--1929 or 1930?
The work of Wayne Hammond in uncovering the intention of Arthur Ransome, never carried out, to correct the dates '1901' and '1931' referred to on Kanchenjunga to '1900' and '1930' resolves the paradox.
The source of the date paradox is that Arthur Ransome made a mistake. He acknowledged this and considered having the dates changed by his publisher, so that "1931" and "1901" printed in Swallowdale on the Kanchenjunga inscription would be altered to "1930" and "1900". The events surrounding this are described in Wayne Hammond's bibliography of Ransome
Roger Wardale in Master Storyteller, and before that in Amazon Publications' The Best of Childhood, shows that AR realised he had got the dates wrong. He wrote out a Chronology for himself, more than once, and tried to get Cape to change the date in SD to 1930. But they never did.
On the other handEdit
A Chronology written by Arthur Ransome some years after the publication of SA, and published in Amazon Publications The Best of Childhood shows that Arthur Ransome also conemplated a 1930 start to the series:
CHRONOLOGY SA Summer 1930 Roger 7, Titty 9, Susan 11, Peggy 11, John 12, Nancy 12 SD 1931 WH 1931-2 CC Easter 1932 PP Summer hols 1932 First two weeks WD Summer hols 1932 Fourth week SW Summer hols 1932 End BS Summer hols End September PM First fortnight of Summer hols 1933 R 10, T12, S 14, J 15, D[Dorothea?] 13, D 12, N 15, P 14 Pete 10, Bill 11, Joe 12
I also have a photocopy of another item in AR's hand giving the plot outlines of the books, and bearing out the same timescale. Also, unless I have misread his handwriting, it says explicitly "Feb 10 1932 at the North Pole".