James Herriot is the pen name of James Alfred Wight, OBE, FRCVS also known as Alf Wight, an English veterinary surgeon and writer. Wight is best known for his semi-autobiographical stories, often referred to collectively as All Creatures Great and Small, a title used in some editions and in film and elevision adaptations.
In 1939, at the age of 23, he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow Veterinary College. In January 1940, he took a brief job at a veterinary practice in Sunderland, but moved in July to work in a rural practice based in the own of Thirsk, Yorkshire, close to the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors, where he was to remain for the remainder of his life. The original practice is now a museum, " The World of James Herriot ".
Wight intended for years to write this ook, but with most of his time consumed by veterinary practice and family, his writing ambition went nowhere. Challenged by his father, in 1966 ( at the age of 50), he started writing. In 1969 Wight wrote If Only They Could Talk, the last of the now-famous series based on his life working as a vet and his training in the Royal Air Force during the Firs World War. Owing in part to professional etiquette which at that time frowned on veterinary surgeons and other professionals from advertising their services, he took a pen name, choosing " James Herriot ". If Only They Could Talk was published in the United Kingdom in 1970 by Michael Joseph Ltd, but sales were slow until Thomas McCormack, of St. Martin 's Press in New York City, received a copy and arranged to have the irst two books published as a single volume in the United States. The resulting ook, titled All Creatures Great and Small, was an overnight success, spawning numerous sequels, movies, and a successful television adaptation.
In his ooks, Wight calls the town where he lives and works Darrowby, which he based largely on the towns of Thirsk and Sowerby. He also renamed Donald Sinclair and his brother Brian Sinclair as Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, respectively. Wight 's books are only partially autobiographical. Many of the tales are only loosely based on real events or people, and hus should be considered primarily fiction.
The Herriot books are often described as " animal stories " ( Wight himself was known to refer to them as his " little cat-and-dog stories "), and given that they are about the life of a country physicia, animals certainly play a significant role in most of the tales. Yet animals play a lesser, sometimes even a negligible role in many of Wight 's tales: the overall theme of his stories is Yorkshire country life, with its people and their animals primary elements that provide its distinct character. Further, it is Wight 's shrewd observations of persons, animals, and their close inter-relationship, which give his writing much of its savour. Wight was just as interested in their owners as he ha in his patients, and his writing is, at root, an amiable but keen comment on the human condition. The Yorkshire animals provide the element of pain and drama; the role of their owners is to feel and express joy, adness, sometimes triumph. The nimal characters also prevent Wight 's stories from becoming twee or melodramatic — animals, unlike some humans, do not expect to be ailing, nor ave they imaginary complaints and needless fears. Their ill-health is real, ot the result of flaws in their character which they avoid mending. In an age of social constraint, when there seem to hav no remedies for anything, Wight 's stories of resolute grappling with mysterious bacterial foes or severe injuries have an almost heroic quality, giving the reader a kin of assurance, even hope. Best of all, James Herriot has an abundant humour about himself and his difficulties. He never feels superior to any living thing, and is ever abl to learn — about animal doctoring, and about his fellow human creature. http: //us.macmillan.com/author/jamesh ...