Lively and mischievous, idle and brave, Tom Brown is both the typical boy of his time and the perennial hero celebrated by authors as diverse as Henry Fielding (in Tom Jones) and Alec Waugh (in The Loom of Youth). The book describes Tom's time at Rugby School from his first football match, through his troubled adolescence when he is savagely bullied by the unspeakable Flashman, to his departure for a wider world as a confident young man. This classic tale of a boy's schooldays under the benevolent eye of the renowned Dr Arnold still retains the appeal for which it was acclaimed on its first publication in 1857. In its less well-known sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford, we follow our hero to St Ambrose's College, and, in sharing his undergraduate experiences, gain a vivid impression of university life in the mid nineteenth century.
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A classic of Victorian literature, and one of the earliest books written specifically for boys, Tom Brown's Schooldays has long had an influence well beyond the middle-class, public school world that it describes. An active social reformer, Hughes wrote with a freshness, a lack of cant, and a kind, relaxed tolerance which keeps this novel refreshingly distinct from other schoolboy adventures. This edition is the only one available, and comes with the outstanding 1869 illustrations by Arthur Hughes.