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The Papers of A.J. Wentworth, BA

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  106 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Close to retirement, A.J. Wentworth, though well-intentioned, is a humourless, ineffective educator of the old school. Despite an unshakeable faith in his own methods, he is ill-equipped to deal with the devious vagaries of the modern schoolboy.
Hardcover, Prion Humour Classics, 158 pages
Published February 1st 2001 by Prion (first published 1949)
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Sid Nuncius
Sep 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 t
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 a
Sep 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 so
Diane Hernandez
The Papers of A.J. Wentworth BA was first published as a humorous contemporaneous study of life in a boy’s boarding school immediately before England joined World War Two. It was serialized in Punch magazine over several years.

Poor Wentworth is an overwhelmed teacher who frequently loses his temper with his young charges. In a roomful of Bart Simpsons, Mason is the worst prankster and malcontent. Wentworth throws things at his students and seems perpetually lost.

I guess this passed for humor in
Sep 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Vijay Fafat
Mar 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-i-own
This is a humorous book about A J Wentworth, school master at a British school, who teaches Algebra to 11-13 year old children. The entire novel has a touch of Wodehouse to it as it follows the bumbling but sincere actions and reactions in the life of Wentworth, his dealings with cocky, impudent students and in the latter half of the book, his army life during WW II. A light-hearted novel but without any intricacies or convoluted plot of a Wodehouse. Could have been developed much more than the ...more
Sep 11, 2019 rated it liked it
”The Papers of A.J Wentworth, B.A.” by H.F. Ellis follows the misadventures of A.J. Wentworth, a maths teacher at the Burgrove School for boys in England on the eve of World War II. Told in the form of Wentworth’s diary entries, with occasional interjections by other teachers and the friend who has been tasked with compiling and publishing his notes, the book is an episodic series of mishaps that the accident-prone and misunderstanding-generating Wentworth finds himself embroiled in. A quote on ...more
Pop Bop
Jun 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
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-headedne
Susan Johnston
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
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 dea
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
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 ou ...more
Anam Cara
Nov 29, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: humor
The author published this book in 1949. A J Wentworth is a teacher at a boy's boarding school in England. This book is a first person account of his encounters with students and faculty there. Between his stories he tells about his short time in the military during the War.

I loved the stories at his school. The students knew him well enough to know which buttons to push to make him appear a complete fool to the staff there. Some of the conversations are absolutely hysterical and had me laughing
Sep 02, 2019 rated it liked it
A mildly humorous collection of tales of a school master at a school for boys shortly before World War Two.

This is quite a short book, and whilst sections of it did make me laugh (the umbrella fishing incident is particularly entertaining), some parts of it I found rather dull. However, it was a pleasant way to pass a couple of hours, and would probably be much more humorous to others.

I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Kimberley Rode
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Made me gol (giggle out loud).

A short and fun read , giving insight into the many peculiar ways in which different people interpret the same situations.

Reading about A.J. Wentworth and his silly insights makes for a great way to pass the time!
Jessica Mcbee
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
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. ...more
Sep 19, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Laughing Out Loud

The world it was written in and about is long gone, but this book will hit you whatever kind of school you went to. The humour is amiable and gentle, but will also make you rock with laughter. A joyous, uplifting book.
Valerie Sherrard
One of the more entertaining characters I've encountered. Anywhere. Poor Wentworth is that rare individual utterly unable to see himself through eyes other than his own, and so his blunders go merrily unchecked, or even (on his part) suspected. ...more
Drew K
May 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
Very amusing, and I'm sure in 1949 it was the standard of humour. He actually reminds me of Lardner's main character in You Know Me, Al. By today's standards, definitely amusing. ...more
Verity W
Didn’t love it, but it was fun and funny and a slice of a time in part of Britain.
Ravi Teja
May 02, 2020 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
It was mildly funny a couple of times. Maybe someone of yore, who had been bachelor school master and had an awkward little service record might be able to associate a bit with this, but nothing else.

Wentworth is a big-time klutz, stiff and unsuspecting schoolmaster. Most incidents happen just because he is too clumsy with every little thing and being the prim victorian he is tries to explain how that incident isn't eccentric at all, which at times can be mildly funny.

The only saving grace is th
Sally Boyington
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Vijay Fafat
This is a sequel to the "The Papers of A J Wentworth, B.A.". Most of this book is about the retired life and small-town incidents in which Wentworth is caught up but in the last 20% of the novel, he heads back to his old school for a stint and ends up teaching algebra to the next generation (including his former student, Mason's son). It is a nice, quiet read, but should be read after "The Papers of AJ Wentworth".

One of the funnier exchanges from the book:

(quoted from The Papers of A.J. Wentwort
Keith Currie
Sep 29, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Augustus Gump
Jul 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
H.F. Ellis is a superb author of humor, who perhaps doesn't get the respect he deserves, and A.J. Wentworth is a brilliant and timeless comic creation. The fun is in the contrast between Wentworth's view of himself and the reality of his role at Burgrove School, where his bumbling and fussy obsessions make him a figure of fun. The humor is devoid of cruelty, however, as the impression comes through that the other members of staff and even the boys may not accord him the respect he thinks they do ...more
Dec 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is real old-school (literally in this case), classic British comic writing. H. F. Ellis's accident-prone prep school teacher first appeared in Punch in the 1930s. He proved so popular that he became a regular fixture of that august magazine. It's a very Pooteresque humour, relying chiefly on the slightly pompous nature of Wentworth and his obliviousness to the pratfalls that lay in wait for him at every turn. The world he inhabits is long gone, but beautifully evoked in these lovely short p ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I used to enjoy these old Punch tales of an accident-prone prep school teacher and find them quite funny, but my taste has changed.

They probably still have appeal, but to me the interest was historic more than anything.

A short read, and probably best in small instalments.

Thank you to NetGalley and Farrago for the digital review copy.
Mary Allan
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Worthy Companion to the best of PG Wodehouse and the Diary of a Nobody

The writer brings to life a bygone age and places centre stage in cinematic prose a Maxwell Smart whose ineptitude never dulls his ardour to do all that is right as an officer, gentleman and scholar. Rowan Atkinson should secure the rights.
Cevdet Suner
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
H F Ellis is going to be one of my favourite authors from now on. A. J. Wentworth. B.A., is very life like. I once knew a chap just like him, working together with me in a Professional services firm. The way their minds worked and the capers they got into could not be more similar.
Tiffany Rose
Sep 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Lorelle Hartley
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful laugh out loud book, fits of giggles. Looking forward to reading more of the papers of A. J. Wentworth.

A wonderful laugh out loud book. Fits of giggles. Looking forward to reading more of the papers of A. J. Wentworth.
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