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The Compleet Molesworth
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The Compleet Molesworth

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  578 ratings  ·  41 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)
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Feb 16, 2011 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  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
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
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
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
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
May 02, 2007 Priscilla rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of British humor
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 cartoonish scribbles of Rona
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)
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!"
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.
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.
David Bell
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.
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
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 be
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.
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.
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
Endlessly comforting, eternally funny.
Tim Hicks
I have this as "The Compleat Molesworth," published before 1963 and perhaps earlier.

I have probably read this more than any other book I own. It's still one of the funniest things I have ever read.
Ronald Searle's illustrations make it wonderful, but Willans didn't get the fame he deserved from this book.

The other comments here describe the book well enough. I'll just be one of the voices trying to explain how clever, creative and funny this book is.
This should be required reading for anyone who wants to understand the British class system. Even though the setting is somewhat dated, its depiction of the English Public School and the associated structures is still dangerously accurate, and the jokes are as good as ever. Not to mention the astonishing illustrations which you will never forget. (Searl also created St Trinian's, now better known through the movies, of course.)
Stuart Estell
One of the funniest things I've ever read (gaze in mirror at yore unatural beauty).

So cheers cheers cheers for molesworth 1, molesworth 2, peason, GRIMES and fotherington tomas (hullo clouds, hullo sky).

It's been a long time since I laughed aloud all the way through a book. Absolutely unmissable. I wish I'd encountered it sooner.
Absolutely my favourite book ever.
Discovered Molesworth when I found a copy of How To Be Topp on our primary school class bookshelves.
He is a British institution, in some ways a relic of the 50s now, but in others still casting a sardonic, very modern, eye over the education establishment and the wider world.
Tabitha Ormiston-Smith
this book is the best book in the world in space, i mean to sa
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.
Jayne Rogers
The funniest thing I've ever read. I read it every now and again and still roll around laughing. Molesworth is the most heroic and modest of public schoolboys with possibly the worst spelling. God knos ho he suurvived skool.
"This is me e.g. nigel molesworth the curse of st custard's which is the skool i am at. It is utterly wet and weedy as i shall (i hope) make clear but of course that is the same with all skools."
This was a great way to revisit the wit and wisdom of Molesworth 1, even though the complete collection did mean that the jokes got a little thin by the fourth book. Nigel is a hero, as any fule kno.
What can I say? A rose-coloured spectacles view of school in the fifties? An encapsulation of the huge optimism of post-war Britain? Above all, this is terrific fun - as any fule kno!
It's all 4 books in one volume, but I'm not counting them individually (as I do with Hornblower). I've only ever read the 4th, but Molesworth is fab as any fule kno.
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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...
Down With Skool! How to Be Topp Back in the Jug Agane Whizz for Atomms The Dog's Ear Book

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