Long Lived Characters

minnow at belfry.org.uk minnow at belfry.org.uk
Wed Mar 17 12:59:47 EST 2004

Ven wrote:

>I found this interesting thread on The Straight
><<Who is the longest "lived" fictional character
>I've just gotten back into P.G. Wodehouse's
>Jeeves and Wooster stories, and I noticed with
>some surprise that the first Jeeves story
>appeared in 1916 and the last was written (or at
>least begun) in 1974, for a "lifespan" of 58
>I think this is a record.
>Does anyone know of another fictional character
>who was written about by the original author over
>a longer period? I think we can rule out most, if
>not all, of the juvenile series like Tom Swift,
>Nancy Drew, etc., since I believe they were
>written by many different people.>>
>I make Chrestomanci 23 -- Charmed Life pub 1977,
>Mixed Magics 2000 -- soon to be 28 or so on
>publication of the next book.
>Here's a copy of the list in progress from the
>58 years: Jeeves and Wooster (Wodehouse)
>55 years: Hercule Poirot (Christie)
>55 years: The Saint (Charteris)

I don't think that *can* be right.
*Meet the Tiger* is 1928.  It's certain from his
own foreward to the book that he didn't himself
write *The Saint On TV* (1967), and I think that
all the later books saying "Copyright Leslie
Charteris" in them just means that the limited
company he had become still existed.  So I'd be
inclined to guess at 39 years maximum.  (I have
a feeling that Harry Harrison may have written
one of the later ones, but I may be thinking of
some other "series" character Harrison wrote.)

Not an answer to the question "who is longest-
lived", but

Modesty Blaise doesn't do too badly: 1965 in a
book (1963 in the Evening Standard as a "comic")
till 1996.  There won't be any more, I don't
think, but that's a nice solid 31 years of book
life, which is twenty or so years less than her
life in her ficton.

Anyone got information on Biggles?


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