- by Bill Wright. Since this is quoted text it should be edited for style not substance, unless you are Bill.
- Most of the analysis in this article is contradicted by the resolving of the 1929-1930-1931 paradox by Wayne Hammond
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? Since the date on the summit is the only specific date between the two books, this must be the start of the discussion.
Bridget's birthday is in a "few" days from Day 16 of SD (12 Aug), they are back on Wild Cat Island on Day 17 (13 Aug), Mother and Bridget are coming to spend the following night (14 Aug), so the party is most likely on the day after that, that is, 15 August. We know that Bridget/Vicky's birthday is on Day 9 of SA, which would make Day 1 of SA the 7th of August.
In SA, we know that on Day 1, the Walkers had been at Holly Howe 10 days, which means they had arrived on the 28th of July. (They seem to arrive late in the day; the 29th would be their "first" day at Holly Howe.) This arrival date tallies well with SD, where they arrive on the afternoon of the 27th.
By using a perpetual calendar, one finds that 28 July 1930 and 27 July 1931 are both Mondays; 28 July 1929 is a Sunday. The commonality of days of the week for 1930 and 1931 lends credence to the idea that 1930 is the correct year for SA, and it is what I have used in figuring the overall timeline of the whole series.
The publication date of Mixed Moss, which is given as 1930 in SD, is sometimes given as a reason why SA could not have taken place in 1930, the question being: Is August to December (the latest the book could still have a 1930 publication date) long enough for the book to be edited and published? My guess is "yes"--after all, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was finished in April and published in July of 2000, and it is quite a large book!
Basing my decision on the calendar such I have done is not conclusive, as Arthur Ransome was not completely careful with some other details relating to the dates for both books. In the beginning of SD, it says that "August had come again," when in fact, it would not for several more days! Also, in SA, there are two places when the timing of the Walkers' trip South is mentioned: once on Day 9, when they have one week to go (which fits with the chronology of the book), and once on Day 11, when it says they have 3 days left before they go home at the end of the week. Day 11 is a Sunday, and they do go home at the end of that week, but it is 5 days away, not 3.
|This page uses content from Guide to Swallows and Amazons series by kind permission of Bill Wright.|