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"Boys' Weeklies" is an essay by George Orwell in which he analyses those weekly story-paper publications for boys which were current around 1940. After being published in Horizon in abridged form, it was published alongside two of his other pieces in Inside the Whale and Other Essays from Victor Gollancz Ltd.
He suggested that the style of The Magnet and Gem was deliberately formulaic so that it could be copied by a panel of authors whom he erroneously supposed to lie behind the author's names. He also denigrated the works as outdated, snobbish and right-wing, (Orwell 1940). He characterises the mental world of The Magnet and Gem as being "1910 - or 1940, but it is all the same... there is a cosy fire in the study... The King is on his throne... Everything will be the same forever."
He then addressed what he regarded as more up-to-date papers, DC Thompson's tuppenny bloods. He notes that the stories were shorter and faster paced and tend to be dominated by a single figure.
He suggests the working classes are depicted in a stereotyped manner in both types of paper and regrets the absence of any Socialist perspective.
Charles Hamilton later published a reply to his comments about The Magnet and Gem, under the Magnet pen-name of Frank Richards; this reply included his first public acknowledgement of himself as author of both papers and defended the wholesome nature of the stories as being appropriate for his audience (Richards 1940).
- Orwell, George (1940), "Boys Weeklies", Horizon.
- Richards, Frank (1940), "Frank Richards Replies to Orwell" (PDF), Horizon.