A Voyage Round My Father is only one of John Mortimer’s works with significant autobiographical elements, though they are most prominent and least fictionalized in it. For example, members of the legal profession are present in the plays The Dock Brief (pr. 1957 as a radio play and televised; staged 1958), Two Stars for Comfort (pr., pb. 1962), and The Judge (pr., pb. 1967); the radio and television play Edwin (pr. 1982 and 1984, respectively); the novel Like Men Betrayed (1953); and the Rumpole of the Bailey stories and television dramatizations (1975-1987). Writers are prominent in Paradise Postponed (the 1985 novel and 1986 television series), the novel Charade (1947), and the play Collaborators, whose main character is a barrister who also writes radio plays and film scripts.
In all of his plays and novels, even the early one-act stage pieces that are little more than whimsies, Mortimer deftly manages situations and presents characters who are believable even when they are largely stereotypes. Further, in almost all of his work he reflects a Dickensian humanism, the sense that one should feel sorry for the less fortunate. In contrast with his father, the son in A Voyage Round My Father sometimes reveals himself as a sensitive man with a social conscience. There is an unheroic quality about the son, which is a common characteristic of Mortimer’s protagonists....
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