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As scholar Isabel Quigly has argued, stories set in schools are separable from the school story as a genre. The latter is taken to be a clearly defined genre, with a beginning and an end, emerging in Britain in 1857, in the wake of Thomas Arnold’s pedagogical reforms at Rugby School, and made largely irrelevant due to the impact of the First World War. While true, this underestimates both the global and diverse nature of the genre, and its later resurgence, beginning in the 1980s but gaining a global reach with the success of Joanne K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. This entry examines the history of the British school story genre, its popularisation, its gendered forms, and recent reinvention.

The British School Story

The school story as ...

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