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Encyclopedia > Tom Brown's Schooldays
Cover of 1999 re-issue by Oxford World's Classics
Cover of 1999 re-issue by Oxford World's Classics

Tom Brown's Schooldays, first published in 1857, is a novel by Thomas Hughes, set at a public school, Rugby School for Boys, in the 1830s when Hughes himself had been a student there. Image File history File links 0192835351. ... Image File history File links 0192835351. ... 1857 was a common year starting on Thursday (see link for calendar). ... A statue of Thomas Hughes at Rugby School For the recipient of the Victoria Cross see Thomas Hughes, VC Thomas Hughes (October 20, 1822 – March 22, 1896) was an English lawyer and author. ... The term public school has different meanings: In Scotland, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and most other English-speaking nations, a public school is a school which is financed and run by the government and does not charge tuition fees. ... A view of Rugby School from the rear, including the playing field, where according to legend Rugby was invented Rugby School, located in the town of Rugby in Warwickshire, is one of the oldest public schools in the United Kingdom and is perhaps one of the top co-educational boarding... // Events and Trends Electromagnetic induction discovered by Michael Faraday Dutch-speaking farmers known as Voortrekkers emigrate northwards from the Cape Colony Croquet invented in Ireland Railroad construction begins in earnest in the United States Egba refugees fleeing the Yoruba civil wars found the city of Abeokuta in south-west Nigeria...


The novel was originally published as being 'by an Old Boy of Rugby', and it is immediately apparent that much of it is based on the author's experiences. In fact, Tom Brown is based on the author's brother, George Hughes, and George Arthur is based on Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. Arthur Penrhyn Stanley (December 13, 1815 _ July 18, 1881), was an English churchman, dean of Westminster. ...


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. The school story is a genre of fiction, basic to much of the childrens literature of the twentieth century. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ...

Contents


Synopsis

Tom Brown is energetic, stubborn, kind-hearted, athletic more than intellectual. He acts according to his feelings and the unwritten rules of the boys around him more than adults' rules.


The early chapters of the novel deal with his childhood at his home in the Vale of the White Horse (including a nostalgic picture of a village feast). Much of the scene setting in the first chapter is deeply revealing of Victorian England's attitudes on society and class. The Vale of White Horse is a local government district of Oxfordshire in England. ... Queen Victoria (shown here on the morning of her Accession to the Throne, 20 June 1837) gave her name to the historic era The Victorian era of Great Britain is considered the height of the British industrial revolution and the apex of the British Empire. ... Royal motto (French): Dieu et mon droit (Translated: God and my right) Englands location within the UK Official language English de facto Capital London de facto Largest city London Area – Total Ranked 1st UK 130,395 km² Population – Total (mid-2004) – Total (2001 Census) – Density Ranked 1st UK 50. ...


His first school year was at a local school. His second year started at a private school, but due to an epidemic of fever in the area, all the school's boys were sent home, and Tom was transferred mid-term to Rugby School, where he started acquaintance with people who lived at the school and in its environs. In epidemiology, an epidemic (from Greek epi- upon + demos people) is a disease that appears as new cases in a given human population, during a given period, at a rate that substantially exceeds what is expected, based on recent experience (the number of new cases in the population during a... See Fever for the Kylie Minogue album; Fever is also a song by Otis Blackwell. ...


On his arrival, the eleven-year-old Tom Brown is looked after by a more experienced classmate, East. Soon after, Tom and East become the targets of a bully named Flashman. The intensity of the bullying increases, and, after refusing to hand over a sweepstake ticket for the favourite in a horse race, Tom is roasted in front of a fire. Tom and East eventually defeat Flashman with the help of a kind (though comical) older boy. In their triumph they become unruly. Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman is a fictional character originally created by the author Thomas Hughes in his semi-autobiographical work Tom Browns Schooldays, first published in 1857. ... Sweepstakes (called prize draws in Great Britain) promotion where prizes are given away for free. ...


In the second half of the book, Dr. Thomas Arnold (the historical headmaster of the school at the time) gives Tom the care of a new boy named George Arthur, frail, pious, academically brilliant, gauche, and sensitive. A fight that Tom gets into to protect Arthur, and Arthur's nearly dying of fever, are described in loving detail. Tom and Arthur help each other and their friends develop into young gentlemen who say their nightly prayers, don't cheat on homework, and are on the cricket team. Thomas Arnold (June 13, 1795 – June 12, 1842) was a famous schoolmaster and historian, head of Rugby School from 1828 to 1841. ... For the insect, see Cricket (insect). ...


An epilogue shows Tom's return to Rugby and its chapel when he hears of Dr. Arnold's death.


Themes

A main element of the novel is Rugby with its traditions and with the reforms instituted by Dr. Arnold. Arnold is seldom on stage, but is shown as the perfect teacher and counselor and as managing everything behind the scenes. In particular, he is the one who "chums" Arthur with Tom. This helps them both become men.


The central theme of the novel is the development of boys. The symmetrical way in which Tom and Arthur supply each other's deficiencies shows that Hughes believed in the importance of physical development, boldness, fighting spirit, and sociability (Tom's contribution) as well as Christian morality and idealism (Arthur's).


The novel is essentially didactic, and was not primarily written by its author as an entertainment. As Hughes said:

Several persons, for whose judgement I have the highest respect, while saying very kind things about this book, have added, that the great fault of it is 'too much preaching'; but they hope I shall amend in this matter should I ever write again. Now this I most distinctly decline to do. Why, my whole object in writing at all was to get the chance of preaching! When a man comes to my time of life and has his bread to make, and very little time to spare, is it likely that he will spend almost the whole of his yearly vacation in writing a story just to amuse people? I think not. At any rate, I wouldn't do so myself.

Setting

The geography of Rugby has changed greatly since the period in which the book was set. The town has expanded enormously, industrialising in the late nineteenth century. For example, most of the pools along the River Avon that the boys used for swimming were obliterated when the BTH factory was built. Rugby is a market town in the county of Warwickshire in central England on the River Avon. ... Alternative meaning: Nineteenth Century (periodical) (18th century — 19th century — 20th century — more centuries) As a means of recording the passage of time, the 19th century was that century which lasted from 1801-1900 in the sense of the Gregorian calendar. ... The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the midlands of England. ... We dont have an article called Bth Start this article Search for Bth in. ...


In the book, Tom's first year at the school mentions no transport to Rugby except stagecoach, but the end part of Tom's last year mentions "the train". Therefore the Midland Railway was built along the Avon valley past Rugby while he was at the school. But none of his adventures around the river Avon mention the railway or its working, or the large rowdy noisy navvy-camp which would have been in the area while the railway was being built. Buffalo soldiers guard a Concord style stagecoach somewhere in the American West, ca. ... The Midland Railway (MR) was a railway company in the United Kingdom which existed from 1844 to 1922. ... The River Avon or Avon is a river in or adjoining the counties of Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Warwickshire, Worcestershire and Gloucestershire in the midlands of England. ... Navvy is a shorter form of the word navigator and is particularly applied to describe the manual labourers working on major civil engineering projects. ...


County boundaries have been changed so that most of the Vale of White Horse is now in Oxfordshire, not Berkshire as the author says several times. The Vale of White Horse is a local government district of Oxfordshire in England. ... Oxfordshire (abbreviated Oxon, from Latin Oxonia) is a county in south-east England, bordering on Northamptonshire, Buckinghamshire, Berkshire, Wiltshire, Gloucestershire, and Warwickshire. ... Berkshire (IPA: or  ; sometimes abbreviated to Berks) is a county in England and forms part of the South East England region. ...


Changes to the story in movie versions

Some of the movie versions change the story in important ways. Here are listed some differences for the 2005 ITV version mentioned below ("Movie 2") and an older version ("Movie 1"). Current ITV logo. ...

Event Book Movie 1 Movie 2
The fight with Flashman Unorganized fight as described above. The "two against one" imbalance is compensated for by Flashman being two years older and bigger. Formal boxing-ring match, one against one. Tom wins. Unorganized fight, one against one. Flashman wins.
How Tom starts at Rugby School Transferred in mid-term because of the epidemic. Transferred in mid-term because of the epidemic. At start of term.
Why Flashman is expelled He got very drunk in Brownsover and had to be helped back to school. After the fight. He got the school matron's daughter pregnant. And the fight.
Result of Arthur's illness Survived. (Not known) Died.

The start of "Movie 2" includes real historical events which are not in the book: Dr.Arnold closing down the school hunt; Dr.Arnold complaining that before his time, there were no masters in the school overnight to keep the boys in order. Joe Louis and Rocky Marciano at Madison Square Garden, 1951 Julio Cesar Chavez and Ivan Robinson at the Staples Centre, Los Angeles, 2005 Amir Khan of Britain and Mario Cesar Kindelan Mesa of Cuba at the Athens Olympics, 2004 Boxing, nicknamed the sweet science and also called pugilism or prizefighting... Brownsover was a small village about 1½ miles north of Rugby, Warwickshire in England. ...


Related works

Hughes wrote a sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford (1861), which is much less well known. Tom Brown at Oxford is a novel by Thomas Hughes, first published in 1861. ... 1861 is a common year starting on Tuesday. ...


The character of Flashman was adopted by the British writer George MacDonald Fraser as the narrator and hero (or anti-hero) of his popular series of "Flashman" historical novels. The Flashman novels also include the minor characters George Speedicut and "Scud" East. One Flashman novel even mentions the frst publishing of Tom Brown's Schooldays and how it not only embarasses him socially, but costs him a chance to receive the Victoria Cross as well. George MacDonald Fraser (born 1926 in Carlisle, England) is a writer of Scottish descent. ... In literature and film, an anti-hero is a central or supporting character that has some of the personality flaws and ultimate fortune traditionally assigned to villains but nonetheless also have enough heroic qualities or intentions to gain the sympathy of readers or viewers. ... Brigadier-General Sir Harry Paget Flashman is a fictional character originally created by the author Thomas Hughes in his semi-autobiographical work Tom Browns Schooldays, first published in 1857. ...


Chris Kent, a British writer of homoerotica, wrote The Real Tom Brown's School Days: An English School Boy Parody (2002). Despite what might be inferred from the title and some reviews, this novel has a contemporary setting, and the characters and events do not closely mirror those of the original Tom Brown. Chris Kent may refer to: Chris Kent, a British writer of homoerotica who wrote The Real Tom Browns School Days: An English School Boy Parody (2002). ...


Tom Brown's Schooldays was adapted for film in 1916 (British), 1940 (U.S.), and 1951 (British). It has also been adapted for television, as a mini-series by the BBC in 1972 and as a single two-hour programme by ITV in 2005. 1916 (MCMXVI) is a leap year starting on Saturday (link will take you to calendar) // Events January-February January 1 -The first successful blood transfusion using blood that had been stored and cooled. ... 1940 (MCMXL) was a leap year starting on Monday (link will take you to calendar). ... 1951 (MCMLI) was a common year starting on Monday; see its calendar. ... This article is an overview article about the Crown chartered British Broadcasting Corporation formed in 1927. ... 1972 (MCMLXXII) was a leap year that started on a Saturday. ... Current ITV logo. ... 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday of the Gregorian calendar. ...


External links

  • Free eBook of Tom Brown's Schooldays at Project Gutenberg
  • Tom Brown's Schooldays with illustrations, from Bibliomania

  Results from FactBites:
 
Thomas Hughes - MSN Encarta (304 words)
Hughes was born in Uffington and educated at Rugby School, an independent English secondary boarding school, and then at Oriel College at the University of Oxford.
He was a member of the English Parliament from 1865 to 1874, and he became a county court judge and settled in Chester, in northwest England, in 1882.
Hughes's book Tom Brown's Schooldays, a fictionalized account of Rugby School under the headmastership of Thomas Arnold, was an immediate popular success.
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