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Tom Brown's School Days

Thomas Hughes

Book Overview: 

Tom Brown’s School Days is a novel by Thomas Hughes. The story is set at Rugby School, a public school for boys, in the 1830s.

The novel was originally published as being “by an Old Boy of Rugby”, and much of it is based on the author’s experiences. Tom Brown is largely based on the author’s brother, George Hughes; and George Arthur, another of the book’s main characters, is based on Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. The fictional Tom’s life also resembles the author’s in that the culminating event of his school career was a cricket match.

Tom Brown was tremendously influential on the genre of British school novels, which began in the 19th century, and is one of the few still in print.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .Madam Brown had supplied the biggest cake ever seen in our village; and Tom was really as sorry to leave them as they to lose him, but his sorrow was not unmixed with the pride and excitement of making a new step in life.

And this feeling carried him through his first parting with his mother better than could have been expected. Their love was as fair and whole as human love can be, perfect self-sacrifice on the one side, meeting a young and true heart on the other. It is not within the scope of my book, however, to speak of family relations, or I should have much to say on the subject of English mothers,—ay, and of English fathers, and sisters, and brothers too.

Neither have I room to speak of our private schools: what I have to say is about public schools, those much-abused and much-belauded institutions peculiar to England. So we must hurry through Master Tom's year at a private school as fast as we can.

It was a fair average speci. . . Read More