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The book titled "Anthony Dare" is author Archibald Marshall's first in a series of books about Anthony Dare. Many believe that the Anthony Dare series is somewhat autobiographical about the real life of the author.

Archibald Marshall (Author) (1866-1934)

(Archibald Marshall's pseudonym is ARTHUR HAMMOND MARSHALL.)

The original First Edition and First Printing of "Anthony Dare" was published by Dodd, Mead and Co. in 1923. If you wish to own a 1st Printing, be wary if the book is described simply as a First Edition – note which printing it is.

"The Guide to the Identification of First Editions" names an actual 1st Edition and 1st Printing of "Anthony Dare" to be identified primarily when the 1923 copyright date is on both the front and back of the title page.

"Anthony Dare" is the first in the series of the boy Anthony Dare (Archibald Marshall?). He's finding his way in the world and becoming a young man.

The Story:

We first meet youthful Tony walking up a street "well-dressed, in the habit of the time, his silk hat shining, his collar of a somewhat exaggerated height, his cutaway coat tightly buttoned, his trousers fitting close to the leg. He carries his gloves and a neatly furled umbrella."

He is the British replica of author Booth Tarkington's "Seventeen": fatuously earnest, readily friendly, but suspicious, on occasion, with that fierce suspiciousness of youth questioning the wisdom or motives of the world of adults. (You REALLY know what that feels like if you're a Baby Boomer -- as in Don't Trust Anyone Over 30?)

To begin with, he is in the office of his older brother Henry, when he would rather be at Oxford or Cambridge. It had seemed rather a lark, two years ago, to exchange the dubious inferiority of a schoolboy's estate for the undoubted social elevation of a man of the world, a worker in The City. But time has dimmed the glories of his position, and with heels on the rungs of his office chair, his head is in the clouds. He pictures himself in the classic halls of learning, and the more he pictures, the less work he accomplishes until at length Henry decides to transport him bodily to that locale where he seems already to abide in spirit.

Up goes the delighted Tony to Cambridge, where he gets rather a lot out of university life (kind of like Jane Fonda pretended to do). Everything is gathered, except an education. He manages to read as little Law as is consistent with his remaining enrolled there as a student, but he "goes out for" rowing, a bit of hockey, and all the social amenities. He becomes a member of several clubs, and part-editor of a collegiate journal.

By the end of his second year, his chief asset is the reputation of being a "good fellow"; his chief liability a collection of debts, appalling when regarded en masse. (Kind of like those of us who have credit cards, right? By the way, bankruptcy provides an extremely liberating feeling -- after 7 seven years. P.S. "Hi to Suzie Orman!")

Before he can decide whether to confess the debts or try to make some money by getting frantically to work upon his intended "great British novel," Henry becomes ill, grows touchingly dependent upon Tony and affectionate with him. Tony finds himself confessing, and at Henry's offer to settle the debts grows so genuinely remorseful that he determines to go back to Cambridge in the proper spirit and get all there is to be had from his last years there.

But Henry grows rapidly worse, and at length when he dies, Tony has acquired some characteristics of permanent value—chief of which is the capacity for thinking wholeheartedly about someone besides himself. (He apparently never conversed with Donald Trump.)

The Significance:

This is obviously not a plot-novel, but an exposition of character. Mr. Marshall is the apotheosis of unmitigated realism (think Timothy Leary -- did I spell Leary correctly?). There is no glamour, no ecstasy, no high-wrought moments in his tranquil pages. (Never mind, don't think Timothy Leary.)

Amid the swirling eddies of pathological novels (remember "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest"?), sex-exploitation (how about "The Happy Hooker"?) and the so-called literature of unrest (ummm... how about Norman Mailer here?), his stories flow placidly on like the streams of his own cheerful countryside (ala Nicholas Sparks). But his disarming simplicity is the vehicle of profound observation (Carl Sagan! Stephen Hawkins! Bullwinkle the Moose!). His is the genius that can bring characters to life and make them three-dimensional, with their little prides and prejudices (not as good as Jane Austen's, however), their faults and virtues, their heads like solid English oak and their hearts of gold.

The Author:

Archibald Marshall, son of a London business man, was first destined for his father's office -- from which it appears that Anthony Dare may be remotely autobiographical. He broke away, launched into his present career, and wrote extraordinarily bad things as well as things extraordinarily good.

The predominance of the latter won him his own assured niche in contemporary letters. (No problem. Same thing with Mark Twain.)

Among his books (Archie's, not Mark's):

Exton Manor
The Squire's Daughter
The Honour of the Clintons
The Greatest of These
Anthony Dare

(Please pardon my satire if you've been offended in any way by my snide comments above. But at my age you usually get away with that sort of behavior because everyone believes you're senile anyway.)

This guide was assembled by booksuncommon.  Any errors are mine. For those I apologize.


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