Old Friends to Keep:
Studies of English Novels and Novelists

T. A. Jackson

“Old Books to Read —
Old Wine to Drink —
Old Friends to Keep.”

Lawrence and Wishart Ltd

who was very sympathetic and flattering to an old man, and showed real, practical consideration for these, his children.


Readers of the Daily Worker will recognise that, apart from the introductory essay on The Approach to Literature, all the studies included herein appeared originally in its feature pages. They have all been revised and expanded, in some cases considerably; and it is hoped that they will in this more permanent form be as welcome as—and more useful than—when they originally appeared.

This collection comprises only studies of English writers, and primarily the “classic” novelists. A few remarks about Shakespeare and Bacon are thrown in at the end just to keep the pot boiling, and I hope that a further volume (or volumes) covering continental novelists and English writers other than novelists will one day follow.

Readers should note that all the works mentioned in these essays should be obtainable through any public library if not, then have it out with the librarian. And most of them can be bought in cheap editions from any reputable bookseller.

It is not claimed for these studies that they do more than serve as an appetising approach to a subject that has no assignable limits. The reasons for choosing this subject are set out in the introductory essay and also in the concluding one.

Those to whom the author’s name is known will not need to be told that what is here attempted is a Marxist approach. Those to whom it is not known will be able to find out from these studies what this means.



[Dedication] [4]
[Foreword] [5]
1.    The Approach to Literature [sections 5-7] 9
2.    Robinson Crusoe 27
3.    Gulliver 30
4.    The Tinker of Bedford [Bunyan’s The Pilgrims Progress] 35
5.    Pamela and Tom Jones 39
6.    Tristram Shandy 44
7.    Ship’s Surgeon Smollett 48

8.    The Incomparable Jane [Austen]

9.    Scott [Sir Walter Scott] 56
10.  Thomas Love Peacock 61
11.  Dickens 66
12.  The Realist Romantics [Charles Reade & Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell] 70
13.  High Jinks [Frederick Marryat] 74
14.  Thackeray and Vanity Fair 79
15.  George Eliot 84
16.  The Three Sisters Brontë 88
17.  Anthony Trollope 94
18.  Thomas Hardy 98
19.  The Egoist in Them All [George Meredith] 102
20.  The Man Who Hated Sherlock Holmes [Arthur Conan Doyle] 106
21.  Shakespeare and Snobbery [Shakespeare vs Francis Bacon] 111
22.  Why The Novel? 116

SOURCE: Jackson, T. A. (Thomas Alfred). Old Friends to Keep: Studies of English Novels and Novelists. London: Lawrence and Wishart Ltd, 1950. 119 pp.

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