Hilaire Belloc

Adapted from Wikipedia: Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc, pronounced he-LAIR BELL-ock, (27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian of the early twentieth century. Belloc was also an orator, poet, sailor, satirist, writer of letters, soldier, and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works.

Belloc became a naturalized British subject in 1902 while retaining his French citizenship. He served as President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford South from 1906 to 1910.

Belloc’s writings encompass religious poetry and comic verse for children. His widely sold Cautionary Tales for Children included “Jim, who ran away from his nurse, and was eaten by a lion” and “Matilda, who told lies and was burned to death.” He wrote historical biographies and numerous travel works, including The Path to Rome (1902). He also collaborated with G. K. Chesterton on a number of works.

You will notice in reading the sole available digitized copy of Cautionary Tales for Children (see below), that a child took the liberty of applying crayons on several of the pictures with gross motor skills. Perhaps Belloc himself should have included a rhyme advising against such bad behavior. In any case, the book has reached us in that condition, telling a tale of its own. Surely the author would have gotten a chuckle out of it.

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