The Papers of A.J. Wentworth, B.A.

The Wentworth Papers, Book 1

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Pub Date 19 Sep 2019 | Archive Date 26 Sep 2019

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Description

The classic fictional memoirs of a hapless schoolmaster.

There is chalk in his fingernails and paper darts fill the air as A.J. Wentworth, mathematics master at Burgrove Preparatory School, unwittingly opens the doors that lead not to knowledge but to chaos and confusion.

In his collected papers, he sets out the truth about the fishing incident in the boot room, the real story about the theft of the headmaster’s potted plant, and even the answer to the sensitive question of whether or not Mr Wentworth was trying to have carnal knowledge of matron on that one, memorable occasion.

A comic study in blinkered English manners, the Wentworth Papers will delight fans of P.G. Wodehouse or Grossmiths' Mr Pooter. First introduced to readers in the pages of Punch magazine, it was later dramatized for both BBC Radio and ITV drama.

The classic fictional memoirs of a hapless schoolmaster.

There is chalk in his fingernails and paper darts fill the air as A.J. Wentworth, mathematics master at Burgrove Preparatory School...


Advance Praise

‘A truly comic invention.’ The Guardian

‘I was often helpless with laughter. Not a book to be read in public.’ The Oldie

‘A splendid comic hero… cannot fail to engage the sympathy of everyone who has ever sat in a classroom either as master or pupil… Few books have made me laugh out loud quite so often.’ Evening Standard

‘Masterly caricature.’ Times Literary Supplement

‘Wentworth turns out to be the hero of a work certain to be pigeon-holed as a minor classic by which people usually mean a classic more readable than the major kind… a man Mr Pooter would regard with awe but nevertheless recognise as a brother.’ Spectator

‘A book of such hilarious nature that I had to give up reading it in public.’ New Statesman

‘One of the funniest books ever.’ Sunday Express

‘A truly comic invention.’ The Guardian

‘I was often helpless with laughter. Not a book to be read in public.’ The Oldie

‘A splendid comic hero… cannot fail to engage the sympathy of everyone who has...


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ISBN 9781788421805
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Average rating from 27 members


Featured Reviews

If you want some light humour after a hard day then The Papers of AJ Wentworth BA is definitely worth reading. The book is the chronicles of a teacher or master from before the War and is full of little bits of light hearted humour and cute observations. Recommended

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I received a free copy of this book from Netgalley and Farrago in exchange for an honest and impartial review. I really enjoyed this book, and spent a disturbing amount of time crying helplessly at the disasters that befell A J Wentworth - most of which were caused by his own lack of self-awareness. He is reminiscent to me of the character Lucky Jim. If you need a bit of a break from the world, and fancy a really good belly laugh you could do a lot worse than read this! Oh, and I am 100% going to buy the other books in the series.

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I thought that The Papers Of A.J. Wentworth BA was gently amusing, but the cover quote of “One of the funniest books ever,” from the Sunday Express is stretching it a bit. Wentworth is a hapless, inept and hopelessly unaware schoolmaster in a small boys’ boarding school in 1938. Mainly told in the first person by Wentworth himself, we get accounts of various “mishaps” as the boys amuse themselves at his expense, while Wentworth pompously tries to preserve his dignity, oblivious of the fact that the rest of the world is laughing at him. It is very neatly done and cleverly written, so that I recognised some traits of teachers I have known and the attitudes of the boys. For me this a brief, lightly amusing read rather than laugh-out-loud funny, but there is actually some rather acute character observation underpinning it. Not a classic, then, but certainly worth a read. (My thanks to Prelude Books for an ARC via NetGalley.)

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3.5 Stars – Rounded If, like me, you are used to (or familiar with) British humor from the pre-war era, or have an interest in linguistic and sensibility histories – this collection will be both entertaining and informative. You’ll find plenty to laugh at and with as the somewhat hapless and frequently clueless Wentworth is an overwhelmed teacher in this upper-crust boy’s boarding school, and isn’t known to have the best control of his impulses. While presenting the stories and anecdotes, some are funny for his reactions (or overreactions) while others have a sense of a man lost in the tide as the world moves along without his input, as he desperately (and with good intent) tries to grab a sense of ‘being a part’ of it all. While the early stories focus on his years teaching before the war, and his particular difficulty with one student, the latter essays are all about his time after joining up for World War II. As one might expect, some of the references and ‘norms’ are dated, but the general sense of human behavior isn’t changed much – and there are moments where laughter carries through both time and space and situation. While compared to a Woodhouse story, I didn’t find the quasi-condescension and attitude that is more apparent (and overblown), this truly feels more like a ‘get it off his chest while explaining his role sort of series of tales, and is all the more enjoyable for it. It’s not a book for everyone: some of the ‘british-isms’ are quite specific to the time, and hard to intuit from context, and the humor never really hits ‘slapstick’ level, but is subtly tinged with a wry sort of ‘looking back and chuckle’ sort of feeling. BUT – that being said -I really enjoyed this little venture into Wentworth’s life and the writing of Ellis. Often it felt to me as if my relatives, the great-grands and grands, were telling stories among themselves and we were gathered around missing the ‘adult’ bits, but aware that something special was happening. Solidly presented for those interested n the England of some 75 years ago, to see how humor and language have grown and adapted to modern life, this is a book that many will read an entry and return to it a few days later for another bite. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review, all conclusions are my own responsibility. Review first appeared at <a href=” https://wp.me/p3OmRo-aww/” > <a> I am, Indeed </a>

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This was an interesting read. While not my favorite, it was entertaining. It was humourous at times and I found myself laughing. I would recommend it. I would like to thank Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with a copy free of charge. This is my honest and unbiased opinion of it.

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A fun enjoyable read a schoolmaster whose life never runs smoothly a catastrophe around every corner..I found myself laughing out loud a perfect read to help escape every day routine.#netgalley #farragobooks.

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A fun and humorous short book. A style of it's time which is utterly charming in it's own old-fashioned way. A light hearted read which is written in a very easy manner which elicit some real chuckles. A bygone era.

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Mathematics master A J Wentworth is out of his league at a boys school.This book is anecdotal and opinion based.Fun,light read.Thankyou Netgalley and prelude books for this ARC

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This book purports to be excerpts from the diary of an English preparatory (prep) schoolmaster written just before the Second World War. Readers of a certain vintage who enjoyed the Jennings stories will suck up this book with relish. Reader, I sniggered. The tale of Wentworth attempting to teach Pythagoras’ theorem that starts “This morning, we are going to prove that the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle is equal to the sum of the squares on the other two sides”, to which one of the class (young Mason) responds “Is that a likely thing to happen?” set my expectations. Those expectations were met beautifully: Sapoulos was looking for his pen. Wentworth throws up his hands and exclaims “Where is the boy’s pen?”, to which Mason replies “It is in the tool-house of my gardener’s aunt.” Oh, that brought back memories of French lessons “Ou est la plume de ma tante?” “C’est dans le jardin.” Or similar – it was fifty years ago that I tried to learn that stuff! The dialogue ends with Wentworth warning Mason “There will be have to be a big change, Mason, or you and I will find ourselves at loggerheads.” “You may,” he said. “I’m going to Cheltenham.” The book is a joy to read. Although it depicts a world that may no longer exist (if it ever did – since I didn’t attend a prep school, I have no means of knowing one way or the other), that doesn’t matter at all. The humour is timeless. I do hope there’s another Wentworth book… #ThePapersOfAjWentworthBa #NetGalley

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I laughed out loud and loved this book. It's full of gentle humour and you cannot help loving the helpless main character. Highly recommended! Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.

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This book was originally published in 1949 and is one of the many books being republished to bring to the attention of people like me, who would never have read it otherwise! I was torn between my emotions for poor Mr.Wentworth. I wanted to think of him as a pompous man who deserved the treatment received from both his pupils and his fellow teachers, but in those rare moments when he laughed at the situation himself, I had to think again. Mr. Wentworth is very sure of himself, but his students sound like terrors!. They start the most random of arguments to deviate the class from the topic and hand and he struggles to bring them back to the course and even has the occasional victory. There is a chapter of two to show how his fellow teachers succeed in pulling his leg and another chapter or two when he gets drafted into the army. Some actions towards our unlikely protagonist could be put down as bullying but then a wider background is given it seemed harmless enough for me to find funny. It is lighthearted and simply written, so much so that I have nothing left to talk about the book!  If there was more in this book itself, I would have given it five stars but it ended abruptly leaving me wanting to know more.  I received an ARC thanks to NetGalley and the publishers, but the review is completely based on my own reading experience.

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The Papers of A.J Wentworth B.A is a classic series about an ineffectual mathematics teacher who first appeared in Punch magazine from 1938. Written as a diary he recounts his time teaching in the all boys Burgrove Preparatory School in the fictional county of Wilminster. Each comic entry details how A.J Wentworth spends his days trying to control his class of unruly boys as he tries to teach them and their attempts to avoid being taught anything. There are times A.J Wentworth pomposity can be a little annoying but H.F Ellis always manages to bring his character crashing back down to earth through his clumsiness or through the boys continuing attempts to befuddle their tutor. The humour is light-hearted and as it only over a hundred pages long, is a good way to spend an afternoon.

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Laugh out loud Wentworth is an assistant master of mathematics in a small English Prep school just before the Second World War. His collected papers and diaries paint a hilarious picture of this priggish, pompous, self-deluded and accident prone man. As his colleagues, pupils and parents run rings around him, he continues to consider himself the only teacher in step. I read this slim volume over thirty years ago and found it just as funny second time round. It might be imagined that the context of the private middle class school and the world of assistant masters (junior teachers), matrons, locker rooms and boarding pupils would render this wholly out of date, but human nature being what it is, what was very funny then, is just as funny now. Highly recommended.

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Poor Mr Wentworth- somehow his best intentions always seem to end in catastrophe! As Maths master in a Prep school he does his best, but somehow one thing leads to another & he finds himself trying to explain how he got himself into such a muddle. Anyone who has had any experience of Prep & Public schools will recognise A. J. Wentworth! Even as recently as the 80's & 90's I can recall some people who, like A. J. has made this setting his home. His bravery at signing up for war really took him out of his comfort zone, but somehow he slipped into the same niche- slightly eccentric, somewhat humourless, fixed on what he thought he should do & ending up in a pickle! This was a fun read. A.J. was a character that really made you want to try & help him, even though that was probably doomed to failure! Thanks to Netgalley & the publisher for this fun read.

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This book is charming and funny. AJ Wenworth is a math teacher at an English prep school. The book reminded me of the Jeeves and Wooster stories by PG Wodehouse, it's that kind of humor.

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Poor Wentworth! An instructor at Burgrove, a boys’ boarding school during the World War II era, A. J. Wentworth is so literal minded that he doesn’t realize when his colleagues and students make him the butt of jokes. The laughter that fills a room after a prank or a bit of teasing leave the hapless Wentworth puzzled. “I can explain,” he says with injured dignity after every fiasco. From walking out of the headmaster’s office with a maidenhair fern in his arms to getting caught on a fishing line while looking for his umbrella, Wentworth defends himself by arguing “that the whole affair was perfectly natural really.” His convoluted mishaps reminded me of the old proverb “For want of a nail the kingdom was lost.” Over and over, a physical or verbal stumble triggers a series of events that have Wentworth either threatening to resign or demanding that one of the other instructors be dismissed. “Wentworth! . . . Are you mad?” demands the headmaster, yet Wentworth—forgetful, accident-prone, oblivious Wentworth—forges on through one disaster after another in his openhearted way. For there isn’t a mean bone in Wentworth’s body; even when he has been wronged, his tormentors and rivals can earn his sympathy and friendship. Through a decade or so, we follow Wentworth’s experiences at the school and his wartime service as an orderly officer, an ironic classification for the decidedly disorderly bumbler. It was a different world, a simpler and gentler time, before cell-phone cameras could capture every humiliation and spread it across the whole world via social media. In these amusing stories pulled from Wentworth’s imaginary journal and letters and sometimes reflected on by his colleagues, H. F. Ellis has created a delightful book. I look forward to reading the next one in the series.

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Quite entertaining the predicaments he finds himself in. Innocent humor from a bygone era. If uni enjoy brush humor, you will find this book amusing. I'm interested to see where it goes from here. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in exchange for my honest re iew.

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Princess Fuzzypants here: If you want a giggle, check out this book. It reads like St. Trinians meet Abbot and Costello. School Master Wentworth is a walking disaster, totally oblivious to the chaos that follows him and thinks each thing must be either the fault of an other or bad luck. A lot of bad luck. He is the butt of pranks and jokes both from his colleagues and the little darlings under his tutelage. His Headmaster is more inclined to laugh at his antics but said Wentworth would be the death of him. Oddly enough when Wentworth joins the military, his Commanding Officer says the same thing. The “diary’ covers the year before the outbreak of WWII and then picks up again during his service and finally at his return to academia. Poor Wentworth is a sad sack but a rather funny, if not pretentious one. His is a world that we shall not see again. More is the pity. Four purrs and two paws up.

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Charming, Deadpan, Buffoonish Chaos A. J. Wentworth is a marvelous character and his adventures are sure to delight. With a deft touch the author leads us to admire, appreciate, and sympathize with a character, who, in other hands, could end up being pitiable, or worse. After all, Wentworth has no sense of humor, a well developed sense of his own importance, and a tedious lack of social skills and awareness. Somehow, perhaps through Wentworth's essential innocence and well intended block-headedness, we still cheer him on. This book struck me as a dip and smile book. It is arranged around discreet scenes, events, and bits of business, so there are natural points at which to drop into and then step out of the tale. It, (and reading glasses), may explain why bedstands were invented. (Please note that I received a free ecopy of this book without a review requirement, or any influence regarding review content should I choose to post a review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.)

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