Shop H.E. Bates Online
ID
c24
Title
"Grammar School (Kettering)."
Genre
Essay
Page Count
13
Word Count
3276
Publisher
Jonathan Cape
Publication Year
1934
Document Types
Full-text Online
Autobiographical
Topics
Education

Bates's writes of his five years at Kettering Grammar School, in a compilation edited by Graham Greene that included essays by W.H. Auden, Elizabeth Bowen, L.P. Hartley, Sean O'Faolain, Anthony Powell and others. Bates portrays his experience as "utterly useless and dreary," and the instructors as "hopeless, teaching by rule of thumb without a spark of intuition or imagination." He has praise only for his literature teacher, Edmund Kirby. Reflecting on his refusal of an offer of a schoolmaster post as "one of the most sensible acts of my life," he closes: "It was not, indeed, until I left the school that my education began." Later, Bates would write "I am fully aware that my comments on Kettering in Greene's anthology The Old School aroused consternation, ire and indeed wrath in certain devoted Kettering breasts when the book first appeared. I cannot help this; the experiences of others are not mine; my eyes and mind record for themselves, unaffected by the prejudices of others" (Vanished World, 78-79). In The Old School: Essays by Divers Hands (London: Jonathan Cape, 1934).


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