Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Compleet Molesworth” as Want to Read:
The Compleet Molesworth
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Compleet Molesworth

4.30  ·  Rating Details  ·  826 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
School is 'wet and weedy', according to Nigel Molesworth, the 'goriller of 3B', 'curse of St Custard's' and superb chronicler of fifties English life. Nothing escapes his disaffected eye and he has little time for such things as botany walks and cissy poetry with an assortment of swots, snekes and oiks. Instead he is very good at missing lessons, charming masters and putti ...more
Hardcover, 402 pages
Published December 1984 by Pavilion (first published 1958)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Compleet Molesworth, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Bryan Pentelow Look on Amazon and you will find this and all the individual books. However if you look at alternative suppliers you will find better prices though…moreLook on Amazon and you will find this and all the individual books. However if you look at alternative suppliers you will find better prices though the delivery is much slower.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,817)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Ivonne Rovira
Jul 04, 2016 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
I adored Down With Skool!, the first of four books featuring observations from that consummate blockhead, Nigel Molesworth, the self-described “curse of St. Custard’s,” an English boarding school in the 1950s. When I had the chance to buy Molesworth, an omnibus of all four books for a pittance, I jumped at the chance. “As any fule kno,”* what could be more fun?

Molesworth 1 (so called by his schoolmasters and peers to distinguish him from his younger and stupider brother, Molesworth 2) remains as
Feb 16, 2011 Alex rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Any child (from 9 to 90)
Recommended to Alex by: Can't remember
You do not review Molesworth, you can only pay homage to one of the funniest creations in English literature. Almost 60 years since Nigel Molesworth, the curse of St. Custards, turned a withering eye on the English public school system, the British class system, and life in general, his four masterpieces, "Down With Skool", "How to be Topp", "Whizz for Atoms", and "Back in the Jug Agane" are still as fresh as the day they were written. The collaboration of Geoffrey Willans who crafted the inimit ...more
Alan Smith
May 01, 2013 Alan Smith rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
According to the listing in "Goodreads", this book is by Geoffrey Willans. In fact, it's a dual effort, Ronald Searle being the other contributor, and the latter's zany, way-out illustrations contribute as much as the text to this work being one of the all-time classics of school comedy.

The Molesworth stories deal with the (obviously) fictitious St Custard's school (or "skool", for Nigel's spelling is not especially accurate), essentially a highly satarised version of what a typical English boar
Oct 20, 2008 Susanna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful trip down memory lane for me. Molesworth, like me, first appeared in the 1950s, and we had all the books in the house when I was a child. I agree with Philip Hensher ( a good 10 years younger than me) who wrote the introduction to this anthology: "I thought they were children's books, when I was a child, and now that I am an adult, think they are books for adults about childhood."

True, it's ostensibly a kind of childhood that at first glance seems very much removed from anyt
Huw Evans
Nov 13, 2011 Huw Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classics, childrens
I first read this book when I was at a school that could have been the model for St Custards and I got into trouble for being unable to control my hysterical laughter. I cannot listen to the march past of the Rifle Brigade without laughing. The writing is beautiful, as are the illustrations. This is a must read for anybody who enjoys a belly laugh and the repeated cocking of snooks at the English and their societies
Dec 11, 2012 Suzannah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have you ever sensed a kindred spirit upon hearing the words "as any fule kno"?

Has your trained ear been able to detect the difference between "No!" and "Noe!"?*

Have you ever seen a gerund cut a gerundive?

Or puzzled out the meaning of "Caesar adsum jam forte"?


If not, you need to read these books.

* "Crie you mercie, Mowlesworth!" "Noe!"
Cheyenne Blue
I first read "How to be Topp" when I was very young. It was on my father's bookshelf, pushed haphazardly in among the more erudite and literary offerings of George Orwell and the poetry of Byron. My father, an English teacher, loved that book. I loved it too, and revisited it many times.

Until I chanced upon this compilation of the three "Molesworth" books jammed into one volume, I had no idea that they were so popular. I thought dad's book was a quirky obscure little volume.

I've been reading "M
May 29, 2013 F.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nigel Molesworth himself would be horrified to see himself described in such a way, but there is something quintessentially English and beautifully vintage about Molesworth’s take on public school life. The terror of 3B would no doubt be disgusted that we saw him in such a wet and weedy way, but I guess it often happens that something intent on mocking the establishment becomes, eventually, part of the establishment. Through a series of vignettes, sketches and wild fancies of imagination, Molesw ...more
Dec 31, 2014 Priscilla rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of British humor
Read: March 1, 2002

I recommend this book whenever I get the chance. It's hard to get a hold of in the US (you have to buy it from AmazonUK, last I checked), but oh, so brilliant!

The book (actually four books in one) reads like the journal of a young British schoolboy with a very vivid imagination, a loathing for teachers and schoolwork, and a complete disregard for elementary spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Geoffrey Willans' delightfully mangled words are matched by the exquisitely cartoonis
Molesworth, Geoffrey Willans

Terms from Down with Skool!, How to be Topp, Whizz for Atomms and Back in the Jug Agane (all published in the 1950s) that seemed vaguely familiar...

- Hogwarts
- wizard wheezes
- Scrimgeour
- 'hem hem.'

(view spoiler)
M. Milner
Maybe it’s a Canadian thing, but I’ve never really held an opinion on private schools. I’ve sort of been aware of them, but even when I was younger, they seemed like something for rich kids, something of a British relic. Which is maybe why so many British novels deal with them while Canadian fiction doesn’t.

It ranges from older stuff like The Lord of the Flies and it’s marooned school children to something as recent as the Harry Potter series, which is basically about life at boarding school: tr
Rebecca Huston
Howling funny book on school life. Every teacher dreads Molesworth and for good reason. Some of the slang is a bit confusing to figure out, but this one is worth it to read. Originally published as four books, and illustrated by Roald Searles.
May 08, 2014 Bobby rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I think if I were a 12 year old British boy attending a boarding school I would have found this hilarious. As it is, this was a pain to finish. When it comes to British humor, I think I'll stick with Douglas Adams or PG Wodehouse.
You can get this book for less than $20, if you live in the U.S.
So what are you waiting for? I don't give out five-star evaluations without due consideration.

I will have more to say about the genius of "Molesworth" in due course.
Sep 09, 2008 Caitlin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories
One of the funniest books I have ever read. And re-read. And re-re-read times without number. A gauranteed pick-me-up, no matter how down you are. "Do ye ken John Plunk in his tinkle-tinkle-zing" will be with me forever.
Lady Hermione
chizz chizz chizz I realy only have Down with Skool not The Complete Molesworth chizz anyone who kno anything about public skools will die larfing at these books . Only weeds and new bugs and other wet and weedy roters dont think molesworth is super chizz chizz. [br/][br/]quote from molesworth about Pythagoras, who 'insted of growing grapes figs dates and other produce of greece...aplied himself to triangles and learned some astounding things about them which have been inflicted on boys ever sin ...more
Morgana Blackrose
Total and utter classics of English wit, schoolboy humour, and social satire all wrapped up in Ronald Searle's timeless and pitch-perfect cartoon caricatures. I loved these books when I was still at school myself, and love them even more now. Searle was always a big influence on my own drawing career and I referenced these books a lot when I was a teenaged artist with big ideas. The writing is impeccable and while the world it depicts - of blazer-wearing cads, oiks, sissies and other assorted ju ...more
David Bell
Sep 14, 2014 David Bell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As good as ever. A book to skim, laugh at, then put away for another few years/ Not a gud way to lurn to spel.
Feb 03, 2013 Fiona rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: general-fiction
I loved Molesworth when I was in my early teens. He's such a prat but so viciously funny with it. Very clever writing.
An Odd1
Nov 22, 2014 An Odd1 rated it it was ok
Profuse pages of line sketches make clear how their great importance -- front and back inner double set of "skool" at center of the world, cameos "Know the Enemy or Masters at a Glance" p 30-34, Table of Grips and Tortures for Masters --head blip, ear tweak, hair strand pluck, ruler shave p 50-52, "Parents at a Glance" p 92-94, "Guide to grown-ups" p 346-7, scatter of author Molesworth elder sibling, Molesworth 2 is younger p 210 illustrated with chums and head in "Perlice Notise" p 210-211. Som ...more
Lee Broderick
Re-read 14/11/13: I was taught at an early age to look after my books. Despite that, my copy of The Compleet Molesworth is ink-blotched, dog-eared, filled with unidentifiable stains and tiny fingerprints, and falling apart at the seams. Molesworth was my near constant companion in the 1980's.

It's interesting to see GoodReads's 'Readers Also Enjoyed' box in the corner of the book's page. I suspect readers who have not read this book will be unsurprised to see Just William there but they may b
Feb 16, 2015 Molly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-reads
Cheers cheers cheers to Nigel Molesworth, brave fearless noble etc. he should have won the Karackter Kup. Boo to the grabbers, the swots, the oiks, you know who they are.

Only complaint re: Molesworth (lat.) is the intro by Philip Hensher, who comes across as wet, and also a weed. The poor fellow seems to be under the delusion that there's nothing funnier than a gay joke, esp. when about The Wind in the Willows, chiz chiz chiz. So five stars to Molesworth hurrah hurrah and 90000000000 boos to Ph
Jul 12, 2016 Karen marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
* 1000 novels everyone must read: the definitive list: Comedy

Selected by the Guardian's Review team and a panel of expert judges, this list includes only novels – no memoirs, no short stories, no long poems – from any decade and in any language. Originally published in thematic supplements – love, crime, comedy, family and self, state of the nation, science fiction and fantasy, war and travel – they appear here for the first time.
Feb 16, 2014 Ginni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
One of the most influential books in my life - explains much about my juvenile sense of humour....brilliant illustrations too by that master of the craft Ronald Searle (St Trinians) and contains many memorable characters e.g. Fotherington-Thomas 'Hullo birds, hullo clouds', Grimes the scoundrelly headmaster, Grabber the Head Boy, and of course Nigel Molesworth himself, 'the curse of St Custards'. Unmissable.
Peter Stafford-Bow
Proof that an eccentric approach to spelling is no barrier to success, Molesworth asserts himself brilliantly in the classroom, while making his feelings for the ethereal Basil Fotherington Thomas quite clear. Splatteringly well-illustrated by the great Ronald Searl.
Feb 05, 2014 Gill rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this after seeing it reviewed in a newspaper. I can see it has a charm and found it intermittently amusing. but it didn't quite hit the spot for me. humour is such an individual thing.
Paul Wells
Apr 26, 2016 Paul Wells rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hello trees, hello clouds.
Burhan Qamar
Jan 23, 2013 Mason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I can not say enough things about how hilarious and charming this book is! The content of these books first appeared in a series of pieces for Punch in the 1950s, lampooning British boys boarding schools. They are all written in first person by the eponomyous Nigel Molesworth, the "gorilla of 3B." He writes about the horrors of mad maths masters, "skool sossages," "gurls" etc etc

You can get a used copy on Amazon for something like a dollar, and I can't recommend it enough...
Ross McGovern
Nov 26, 2014 Ross McGovern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Endlessly comforting, eternally funny.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 60 61 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Has anyone read any other Geoffrey Willians? 2 5 Jul 19, 2015 07:36PM  
  • Augustus Carp, Esq. By Himself Being the Autobiography of a Really Good Man
  • England, Their England
  • The Wimbledon Poisoner
  • Before Lunch
  • Ennui
  • The Harpole Report
  • My Search for Warren Harding
  • Fireflies
  • Tropic Of Ruislip
  • White Man Falling
  • No Bed for Bacon
  • The Adventures of Gil Blas
  • The Polyglots
  • Memoirs of a Gnostic Dwarf
  • Whisky Galore
  • Mister Johnson
  • Anglo-Saxon Attitudes
  • Titmuss Regained
Herbert Geoffrey Willans was an English author and journalist, is best known as the co-creator, with the illustrator Ronald Searle, of Nigel Molesworth, the "goriller of 3b and curse of St. Custard's".

He was educated at Blundells School, Tiverton, and became a schoolmaster there. Molesworth first appeared in Punch in the 1940s and was the protagonist and narrator of five books, beginning with 1953
More about Geoffrey Willans...

Share This Book

No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »