`School, wrote Henry Green, `is no odder than the world outside, only more concentrated. It is also an experience that everyone has to undergo, and many people have left accounts of their schooldays inspired either by repugnance or regret.
The oldMore`School, wrote Henry Green, `is no odder than the world outside, only more concentrated. It is also an experience that everyone has to undergo, and many people have left accounts of their schooldays inspired either by repugnance or regret. The old school, whether you compare it to a Fascist state (as W.H. Auden famously did), a hothouse, a prison, or a place of lost content, remains with you for the rest of your life. Drawing on fiction, memoirs, autobiography, poetry, and letters Patricia Craig presents an enthralling selection of attitudes to schools and schooling.
All manner of institutions are described, from village schools to state comprehensives, charity schools, public schools, private schools and grammar schools, with some (usually) fond reminiscences of primary schools for good measure. But the emphasis is on individual experience - on the playing field, in the classroom, making friends and enemies, encountering inspiring or eccentric schoolmasters.
Pupils and teachers have their say, Miss Jean Brodie alongside Dr Arnold, Winston Churchill rubbing shoulders with Nicholas Nickleby. Through it all run the anarchic exploits of the heroes and heroines of the school story - Billy Bunter and the Greyfriars mob, Stalky and Co., William Brown, Tom Brown, and the creations of T.B.
Reed and Angela Brazil. Ranging from the sixteenth century to the present day, and focusing on Great Britain and Northern Ireland, this anthology sheds incidental light on attitudes to children, educational systems, and the divisions of British society. It will strike a chord with every pupil, past or present, in revealing the glories and defects of British education.