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Oh Jorrocks (22/08/18 18:51:43)
"Handley Cross was not an immediate success. Its first publisher wanted Surtees to tone the character of Jorrocks down, or even eliminate him altogether. Fortunately, since Surtees was not dependant upon writing to make a living, he could ignore such advice. Herein probably lies the reason for the book's initial lack of popularity: it did not appeal to non-sporting types and yet it alienated the hunting community since it did not give them a flattering and idealized portrait of their world. At the time of its writing, hunting was changing from being the popular and socially inclusive neighbourhood event of isolated rural communities - the kind of old fashioned farmer's hunt of Surtees' youth referred to in the first chapters of Handley Cross as 'the olden times'. It was rather being transformed into a more socially exclusive and ruinously expensive activity. It has been suggested that making Jorrocks a Cockney grocer was Surtees' way of protesting about how the hunting fraternity was increasingly elbowing out tradesmen and the lower classes. For although the behaviour of Jorrocks often instigates the comic action, Surtees always laughs with him rather than at him. "