Monday, January 7, 2013
Page to Stage
John Buchan, the author of The 39 Steps,
was a man of many interests. Born in
Scotland, he lived between 1875‐1940. He
also lived in England before moving to
Canada and becoming Canada’s Governor
General in 1935.
Buchan wrote for his own pleasure and by
the end of his life, amassed more than 100
works. He used his experiences and
interests to inspire his writing. The 39 Steps
was as written over two years (1914‐15)
while Buchan was recovering from an ulcer.
Prior to this illness, Buchan was involved in
the war effort – in secret intelligence work.
He also worked as a war correspondent
where he met the man who would inspire
character Richard Hannay – the protagonist
of The 39 Steps. Hannay’s character would
reappear in other novels by Buchan.
The novel, set
War, tells the
story of Hannay
who finds mself
on the run from a
group of German
spies after he
There are no
female characters in the novel, something
changed by Hitchcock when he adapted the
story for his film version.