- The Pothunters
name = The Pothunters
P. G. Wodehouse
language = English
publisher = Adam & Charles Black
18 September 1902
media_type = Print (
oclc = 2124818
"The Pothunters" is a 1902 novel by
P. G. Wodehouse. It was Wodehouse's first published novel, and the first of several school stories, this one set at the fictional public schoolof St. Austin's.
First editioncopies of the book in good condition are highly prized by collectors, and can change hands for over $10,000.
The story was originally printed as a serial in "
Public School Magazine", commencing in January 1902, but when the magazine ceased publication in March that year, the remainder of the plot was summarised in the form of a letter from one of the characters.
The novel follows the lives of several of the schoolboys as they study, take part in their school sports (particularly
boxingand running), and enjoy teain their studies. After the school's sportstrophies ('pots' in contemporary slang) are stolen in a burglary, the boys, their masters and the policejoin in the hunt for the 'pots'.
The advance of technology has made part of the story opaque to the modern reader. "On Sunday we jellygraph it," writes Wodehouse without explanation. Jellygraph, a common term for a
hectograph, was a method of making a limited number of copies, about 20 to 80. With a jellygraph the master copy was written with a special type of pencil containing the "jellygraph pigment." These special pencils are referred to in the story: "How many jelly machine things can you raise?" The master copy - on paper - is placed face down in a pan whose bottom is covered in a special gelatin. It takes a bit of time, but the pigment is transferred to the gelatin as a mirror image. The copies are then made one at a time by placing blank sheets of paper onto the gelatin after the master copy is removed. Although a reasonably simple method, the copy produced had text (and figures) in a pale coloured ink that was hard to read.
More stories about St. Austin's school can be found in
Tales of St. Austin's(1903).
: "Consica mens recti, nec si sinit esse dolarem Sed revocare gradum".
* [http://wodehouse.ru/01.htm The Russian Wodehouse Society's page] , with photos of book covers and list of characters
* [http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/6984 Free eBook of "The Pothunters"] at
* [http://dogbert.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=wodehouse&y=0&tn=pothunters&x=0 Used editions] at ABE Books
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