June 2, 2009 6:51 PM Subscribe
posted by winna (18 comments total)
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(scroll down on the linked page to see scanned copies of the magazine) published stories about an English public school called Greyfriars
from 1908 until 1940.
Additional scans of Greyfriars stories from The Magnet here
Jeffrey Richards wrote an interesting book
about the function of the British public school in fiction which I enjoyed very much. Public school was a huge influence in upper-class British life from the Victorian era
forward. Alec Waugh
(Evelyn's brother), who wrote a scandalous (for the time) thinly-disguised autobiography
about his experiences at Sherborne
, discusses the system in this book
. The evolution of the ideal of adolescence itself was worked out in some ways in public school stories - the first novel which used the word adolescence was about public school. This is, of course, public school in the British sense, which is private and expensive. Anxiety about a perceived decline in British morality and shifting gender roles focused attention on the education of young men. Interestingly, the primary readers of public school stories were young boys who did not attend public schools, and many of the stories written about public schools disproportionately emphasized virtues like obedience to authority that were suitable for the audience, if not faithful to the reality of public school life.
School stories were an important part of the popular landscape in Britain at the turn of the twentieth century. P.
G. Wodehouse contributed
a number in his time
. My favorite are the Mike and Psmith
Desmond Coke's The Bending of a Twig
quotes heavily from famous school boy stories in a sort of ongoing meta-commentary throughout the book.
The St. Dominic's stories
by Talbot Baines Reed were very popular, though he himself had never attended a public school.
A nonfictional account
of attending Eton. A fictional account.
Note that some thirty years and the First World War separates the accounts, during which there were vast shifts in popular conceptions of public schools and citizenship.