Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: Herriot, James
from The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

English writer. A practising veterinary surgeon in Yorkshire from 1939, he wrote of his experiences in a series of humorous books which described the life of a young vet working in a Yorkshire village in the late 1930s. His first three books were published as a compilation under the title All Creatures Great and Small (1972).

The success of Herriot's novels was based on their warm humour, their colourful, larger-than-life characters, and an implicit nostalgia for the pre-war way of life in which there was a strong and enduring sense of community. In 1974 a film version of All Creatures Great and Small was made, and by the 1980s his books had been translated into every major language, including Japanese, and a long-running television series was being sold world-wide.

Herriot began his career as a veterinary surgeon in the North Yorkshire village of Thirsk. Drawing upon the wealth of material, both human and animal, provided by his work in a very traditional rural community, he wrote his first book, If Only They Could Talk, when he was in his 50s. This was quickly followed by It Shouldn't Happen To A Vet, and Let Sleeping Vets Lie. This compilation found great success in the USA, and his international readership grew rapidly.

Other novels based on the same formula included All Things Bright and Beautiful 1974, All Things Wise and Wonderful 1977, and The Lord God Made Them All 1981.

quotations

Herriot, James

© RM, 2018. All rights reserved.

Related Articles


Full text Article Herriot, James
Chambers Dictionary of Literary Characters

If Only They Could Talk , 1970 , et seq; James Herriot James Herriot was a real-life vet (real name Alf Wight) who recorded his...

Full text Article Herriot, James (Alfred Wright)
Continuum Encyclopedia of Children's Literature

With the publication of All Creatures Great and Small in 1973 and All Things Bright and Beautiful in 1974, H. became...

Full text Article Herriot, James 1916-1995
The Cambridge Guide to Children's Books in English

British author, born in Scotland, who based his highly popular series, beginning with All Creatures Great and Small ( 1975 ) ,...

See more from Credo