Boarding School Syndrome review – The Guardian
Boarding School Syndrome review – education and the pain of separation | Guardian Book of the Day Review 8th July 2015
A gripping study of the mental wounds inflicted by classic British institutions
I once knew an American psychoanalyst who worked in a Bangkok practice, specialising in expats. He’d first come to east Asia on contract for an international church whose missionaries kept getting into trouble. He never went home: there was more than enough work. “Specifically,” he said, “with people like you. Middle-aged, middle-class Brits who went to your crazy private schools may just about be the most damaged social sub-group I’ve ever come across.”
It’s long been known that the practice of sending young children off into the care of strangers is not wholly safe. The ancient “public” schools worried the Victorians as much or more than did the workhouses: three parliamentary commissions sat in the 19th century to look at the financial frauds, riots and the astonishing numbers of deaths – from suicides, assaults by teachers and pupils, starvation, epidemics – in the schools of the rich. Tom Brown’s Schooldays only scraped the surface.
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