In the latest issue:

Real Men Go to Tehran

Adam Shatz

What Trump doesn’t know about Iran

Patrick Cockburn

Kaiser Karl V

Thomas Penn

The Hostile Environment

Catherine Hall

Social Mobilities

Adam Swift

Short Cuts: So much for England

Tariq Ali

What the jihadis left behind

Nelly Lahoud

Ray Strachey

Francesca Wade

C.J. Sansom

Malcolm Gaskill

At the British Museum: ‘Troy: Myth and Reality’

James Davidson

Poem: ‘The Lion Tree’

Jamie McKendrick

SurrogacyTM

Jenny Turner

Boys in Motion

Nicholas Penny

‘Trick Mirror’

Lauren Oyler

Diary: What really happened in Yancheng?

Long Ling

Close

Terms and Conditions

These terms and conditions of use refer to the London Review of Books and the London Review Bookshop website (www.lrb.co.uk — hereafter ‘LRB Website’). These terms and conditions apply to all users of the LRB Website ("you"), including individual subscribers to the print edition of the LRB who wish to take advantage of our free 'subscriber only' access to archived material ("individual users") and users who are authorised to access the LRB Website by subscribing institutions ("institutional users").

Each time you use the LRB Website you signify your acceptance of these terms and conditions. If you do not agree, or are not comfortable with any part of this document, your only remedy is not to use the LRB Website.


  1. By registering for access to the LRB Website and/or entering the LRB Website by whatever route of access, you agree to be bound by the terms and conditions currently prevailing.
  2. The London Review of Books ("LRB") reserves the right to change these terms and conditions at any time and you should check for any alterations regularly. Continued usage of the LRB Website subsequent to a change in the terms and conditions constitutes acceptance of the current terms and conditions.
  3. The terms and conditions of any subscription agreements which educational and other institutions have entered into with the LRB apply in addition to these terms and conditions.
  4. You undertake to indemnify the LRB fully for all losses damages and costs incurred as a result of your breaching these terms and conditions.
  5. The information you supply on registration to the LRB Website shall be accurate and complete. You will notify the LRB promptly of any changes of relevant details by emailing the registrar. You will not assist a non-registered person to gain access to the LRB Website by supplying them with your password. In the event that the LRB considers that you have breached the requirements governing registration, that you are in breach of these terms and conditions or that your or your institution's subscription to the LRB lapses, your registration to the LRB Website will be terminated.
  6. Each individual subscriber to the LRB (whether a person or organisation) is entitled to the registration of one person to use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site. This user is an 'individual user'.
  7. The London Review of Books operates a ‘no questions asked’ cancellation policy in accordance with UK legislation. Please contact us to cancel your subscription and receive a full refund for the cost of all unposted issues.
  8. Use of the 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is strictly for the personal use of each individual user who may read the content on the screen, download, store or print single copies for their own personal private non-commercial use only, and is not to be made available to or used by any other person for any purpose.
  9. Each institution which subscribes to the LRB is entitled to grant access to persons to register on and use the 'subscriber only' content on the web site under the terms and conditions of its subscription agreement with the LRB. These users are 'institutional users'.
  10. Each institutional user of the LRB may access and search the LRB database and view its entire contents, and may also reproduce insubstantial extracts from individual articles or other works in the database to which their institution's subscription provides access, including in academic assignments and theses, online and/or in print. All quotations must be credited to the author and the LRB. Institutional users are not permitted to reproduce any entire article or other work, or to make any commercial use of any LRB material (including sale, licensing or publication) without the LRB's prior written permission. Institutions may notify institutional users of any additional or different conditions of use which they have agreed with the LRB.
  11. Users may use any one computer to access the LRB web site 'subscriber only' content at any time, so long as that connection does not allow any other computer, networked or otherwise connected, to access 'subscriber only' content.
  12. The LRB Website and its contents are protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. You acknowledge that all intellectual property rights including copyright in the LRB Website and its contents belong to or have been licensed to the LRB or are otherwise used by the LRB as permitted by applicable law.
  13. All intellectual property rights in articles, reviews and essays originally published in the print edition of the LRB and subsequently included on the LRB Website belong to or have been licensed to the LRB. This material is made available to you for use as set out in paragraph 8 (if you are an individual user) or paragraph 10 (if you are an institutional user) only. Save for such permitted use, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt such material in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department.
  14. All intellectual property rights in images on the LRB Website are owned by the LRB except where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited. Save for such material taken for permitted use set out above, you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, post, reproduce, translate or adapt LRB’s images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the LRB. To obtain such permission and the terms and conditions applying, contact the Rights and Permissions department. Where another copyright holder is specifically attributed or credited you may not download, store, disseminate, republish, reproduce or translate such images in whole or in part in any form without the prior written permission of the copyright holder. The LRB will not undertake to supply contact details of any attributed or credited copyright holder.
  15. The LRB Website is provided on an 'as is' basis and the LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website will be accessible by any particular browser, operating system or device.
  16. The LRB makes no express or implied representation and gives no warranty of any kind in relation to any content available on the LRB Website including as to the accuracy or reliability of any information either in its articles, essays and reviews or in the letters printed in its letter page or material supplied by third parties. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) arising from the publication of any materials on the LRB Website or incurred as a consequence of using or relying on such materials.
  17. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability of any kind (including liability for any losses, damages or costs) for any legal or other consequences (including infringement of third party rights) of any links made to the LRB Website.
  18. The LRB is not responsible for the content of any material you encounter after leaving the LRB Website site via a link in it or otherwise. The LRB gives no warranty as to the accuracy or reliability of any such material and to the fullest extent permitted by law excludes all liability that may arise in respect of or as a consequence of using or relying on such material.
  19. This site may be used only for lawful purposes and in a manner which does not infringe the rights of, or restrict the use and enjoyment of the site by, any third party. In the event of a chat room, message board, forum and/or news group being set up on the LRB Website, the LRB will not undertake to monitor any material supplied and will give no warranty as to its accuracy, reliability, originality or decency. By posting any material you agree that you are solely responsible for ensuring that it is accurate and not obscene, defamatory, plagiarised or in breach of copyright, confidentiality or any other right of any person, and you undertake to indemnify the LRB against all claims, losses, damages and costs incurred in consequence of your posting of such material. The LRB will reserve the right to remove any such material posted at any time and without notice or explanation. The LRB will reserve the right to disclose the provenance of such material, republish it in any form it deems fit or edit or censor it. The LRB will reserve the right to terminate the registration of any person it considers to abuse access to any chat room, message board, forum or news group provided by the LRB.
  20. Any e-mail services supplied via the LRB Website are subject to these terms and conditions.
  21. You will not knowingly transmit any virus, malware, trojan or other harmful matter to the LRB Website. The LRB gives no warranty that the LRB Website is free from contaminating matter, viruses or other malicious software and to the fullest extent permitted by law disclaims all liability of any kind including liability for any damages, losses or costs resulting from damage to your computer or other property arising from access to the LRB Website, use of it or downloading material from it.
  22. The LRB does not warrant that the use of the LRB Website will be uninterrupted, and disclaims all liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred as a result of access to the LRB Website being interrupted, modified or discontinued.
  23. The LRB Website contains advertisements and promotional links to websites and other resources operated by third parties. While we would never knowingly link to a site which we believed to be trading in bad faith, the LRB makes no express or implied representations or warranties of any kind in respect of any third party websites or resources or their contents, and we take no responsibility for the content, privacy practices, goods or services offered by these websites and resources. The LRB excludes to the fullest extent permitted by law all liability for any damages or losses arising from access to such websites and resources. Any transaction effected with such a third party contacted via the LRB Website are subject to the terms and conditions imposed by the third party involved and the LRB accepts no responsibility or liability resulting from such transactions.
  24. The LRB disclaims liability to the fullest extent permitted by law for any damages, losses or costs incurred for unauthorised access or alterations of transmissions or data by third parties as consequence of visit to the LRB Website.
  25. While 'subscriber only' content on the LRB Website is currently provided free to subscribers to the print edition of the LRB, the LRB reserves the right to impose a charge for access to some or all areas of the LRB Website without notice.
  26. These terms and conditions are governed by and will be interpreted in accordance with English law and any disputes relating to these terms and conditions will be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales.
  27. The various provisions of these terms and conditions are severable and if any provision is held to be invalid or unenforceable by any court of competent jurisdiction then such invalidity or unenforceability shall not affect the remaining provisions.
  28. If these terms and conditions are not accepted in full, use of the LRB Website must be terminated immediately.
Close
Dean Farrar and ‘Eric’: A Study of ‘Eric, or Little by Little’, together with the Complete Text of the Book 
by Ian Anstruther.
Haggerston, 237 pp., £19.95, January 2003, 1 869812 19 0
Show More
Show More

From the 11th century to the 19th not a single Eric was to be found in England, according to the Harrap Book of Boys’ and Girls’ Names. Then in 1858 the schoolmaster Frederic Farrar, not yet a dean, published that passionately morbid tale Eric, or Little by Little. This was the book which, in the face of much mockery, put the wind up two generations of youth. Parents, seizing the wrong end of the stick, at once saw Eric as the ideal baptismal name, to the ultimate dismay of its recipients. Of Eric Gill, Robert Speaight says that being called Eric ‘might not unfairly be described as starting life with a handicap’. The Great War showed what handicapped Erics were made of; in 1918 my cousin Eric, up from Biggin Hill in a two-seater fighter, overhauled – little by little – a homing Gotha bomber and contributed to its destruction. It is unlikely that more recent Erics – Ambler, Sykes, Shipton, Heffer – oozed shame when signing their names.

John Betjeman, in Summoned by Bells, agonises over Farrar’s ‘mawkish’ and ‘oh-so-melodious’ book through which runs a schoolboy sense of impending ‘Doom! Shivering Doom!’ The doom which Betjeman and his contemporaries at Marlborough dreaded was no more than that of icy baths, bullying, fagging, swishing or (improbably) being hauled ceiling-wards in a basket, drenched in ink and treacle, but the doom facing Eric and his classmates was that of idiocy and early death. Such was the reward of a practice which, according to a sermon by Dr Rowlands, head of Roslyn School, led inexorably to Kibroth-Hattaavah. Dr Rowlands did not explain exactly what Kibroth-Hattaavah was, nor does Ian Anstruther in his well-judged introduction to this reissue of Eric; he assumes that we all know our Fourth Book of Moses, which reveals it to be some sort of discreditable landfill for ‘the people that lusted’ (in fact, the Israelites who ended up in it had been lusting excessively after meat and fish, but why spoil a good story?). Farrar says, in oh-so-melodious commination:

Kibroth-Hattaavah: Many and many a young Englishman has perished there! Many and many a happy English boy, the jewel of his mother’s heart – brave and beautiful and strong – lies buried there. Very pale their shadows rise before us – the shadows of our young brothers who have sinned and suffered. From the sea and the sod, from foreign graves and English churchyards, they start up and throng around us in the paleness of their fall. May every schoolboy who reads this page be warned by the waving of their wasted hands, from that burning marle of passion where they found nothing but shame and ruin, polluted affections, and an early grave.

The eponymous Eric, or Williams to his classmates, the spirited son of a missionary, discusses the unspeakable vice with Edwin Russell, Roslyn’s paladin sans reproche. ‘My father said it was the most fatal curse which could ever become rife in a public school,’ Russell says. It is not only blackguardly, but deadly. When Eric asks why masters ‘never give us any help or advice on these matters’, Russell replies: ‘I for one think them quite right not to speak to us privately, unless we invite confidence.’ Anyway, they ‘cannot know’ what the boys are saying and doing. Russell is ‘that noblest of all noble spectacles . . . an honourable, pure-hearted happy boy, who, as his early years speed by, is ever growing in wisdom and stature, and favour with God and man’. Innocent of sin, he is yet marked down for early death. Bright-eyed Eric starts off as a reasonably noble spectacle, but comes under the influence of the corrupted Ball, who has tasted of the Tree of Evil and speaks ‘from the platform of advanced iniquity’. Ball’s lesson for dormitory number seven is ‘Ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil!’ Eric lies in his bed writhing in torment as he listens to Ball’s incitement to give evil a try-out, afraid to rebuke him for his ‘foul words’. Eric, in Wildean terms, can resist everything but temptation and, all too soon, he flings aside ‘the shield of prayer and the helmet of holiness’; that is, he goes with the flock. He has yet to be ‘taken up’ by the older boy Upton, who will escort him on sorties to the Tree of Evil; and in due course he will himself ‘take up’ a young rascal called Wildney, whom he describes as ‘a regular little sunbeam’.

If that healthy organ, the Boy’s Own Paper, not launched till 1879, had been available at Roslyn, could it have helped to dispel ignorance and stem turpitude? It could not; nor could the excoriated penny dreadfuls, nor the long-running saga featuring the rambunctious Jack Harkaway. Dr Gordon Stables, who was a sort of agony uncle for the Boy’s Own Paper, knew what boys got up to but dared not define it. ‘Ah, boys, boys, what a glorious thing is self-mastery!’ is as near as he got. His ideal young male was ‘a man strong enough to roll over a bullock on the emu plains of Australia with one blow of the fist’. Such prowess was not to be gained by thinking in bed, a temporary cure for which was ten grains of bromide of potassium taken for a fortnight. Stables held that ‘a long, solitary walk’ did more harm than good. Nor was a walk with others necessarily any better; companions to be avoided were those ‘whose haggard eyes flash desperation and betray pangs’ (boys like the debauched Eric). It might have helped the haggard youth of Roslyn to self-conquest if, on one of their lawless excursions from school, they had been able to visit one of those dubious medical museums of the times. There used to be (perhaps still is) one preserved at Blackpool, which had a large bust of The Great (or was it The Old?) Masturbator. He was a figure of terrifying pustular decay, resembling an infinitely corrupt Ottoman caliph.

Eric, or Little by Little was reprinted some fifty times, but has been off the shelves for many years. The justification advanced for its reissue, not to be disputed, is that it is ‘essential reading for anyone trying to come to grips with 19th-century England’; an England unchallenged by ‘youth culture’, when adolescents were happy to wear top hats like their elders. As Anstruther points out, the fierce evangelistic morality of Eric came as a counter to the muscular Christianity of Tom Brown’s Schooldays, which was published the previous year. Both books were to be inescapable hand-outs at prizegivings for decades. Eric’s publishers, A. and C. Black, failed to advertise it, to the irritation of its author. Reviews were on the whole favourable (‘A work of great power and ability’, the Spectator said), but ‘all of them made the point that sensitive boys, at that certain age when nearly men, might be upset by the veiled warnings of the dire results of sexual activity, both physical and emotional.’ The Saturday Review was caustic, complaining that ‘everything is served up with tear sauce.’ Blackwood’s said: ‘a more utter failure can hardly be conceived; 19 out of 20 schoolboys would pronounce it “bosh”; the 20th would find it “spooney”.’ Rather than offer a more extended glimpse of these reviews, Anstruther chooses to give us a chapter-long notice from a Dutch publication. It is a reminder that Eric had its foreign following: Eric, ou Petit à Petit and Erich, oder Schritt für Schritt.

Frederic Farrar was a master at Harrow when he wrote Eric, having previously taught at Marlborough. As a boy he had attended King William’s College on the Isle of Man, an institution which took offence at close resemblances with scenes and incidents in the book. John Addington Symonds, who was head of a house at Harrow when Eric appeared, has put on record his youthful ‘disgust and loathing’ at the ‘incredibly obscene’ talk and wall-to-wall depravity he witnessed there. Farrar cannot have failed to be aware of what might be going on when he heard distant shouts of ‘Cave!’ He served under Charles Vaughan, the headmaster who left suddenly after being detected in an affair with a pupil, and was so terrified of exposure by the angry father that he refused the consolatory offer of a bishopric. ‘Perhaps,’ Anstruther writes, ‘this is the simple answer; that, faced with an overwhelming disgust at the widespread evil throughout the school and the widespread lack of interest on the part of the staff, Farrar decided to do what he could to reform it.’ Farrar himself said that he wrote the book as a very young man in an earnest attempt to improve public school morality. But, in a distancing mood, he also wrote that ‘accident made me an author,’ giving the impression that Eric was the mere product of a moment of leisure. If so, it is surprising that a busy cleric who turned out some seventy books, including a bestselling Life of Christ, could find enough moments of leisure to write three more school books in the same vein, all exuding, as A.N. Wilson says in The Victorians, ‘unwholesome sexual feeling like tightly-lidded pressure-cookers giving off steam’. He retained enough interest in Eric to tinker with it and cut out some of the slop. ‘Kiss me, Eric, as though I were a child and you were a child’ became ‘I wish you were my brother,’ and ‘Wildney quietly sitting on Eric’s knee by the study fire’ was altered, not a moment too soon, to ‘Wildney quietly sitting by the study fire.’ Farrar was cross with Kipling for such references in Stalky and Co. as ‘we ain’t goin’ to have any beastly Erickin’. D’you want to walk about with your arm round his neck?’ Kipling apologised, saying he had not intended any gratuitous insult – ‘Your years and your position in the English Church alike forbid the thought of that.’ By then Farrar was Dean of Canterbury and had served as a royal chaplain. He was an evangelical preacher of such eloquence and fervour that congregations swarmed to hear him.

The readers of Eric were expected to take in their stride untranslated quotations in Greek, Latin, German and French. Such passages appear not only as epigraphs but in the conversation of the boys, Eric included. Dialogue is often excruciatingly stilted and no less excruciating are the author’s apostrophisings of his hero (‘Now, Eric, now or never! . . . Speak out, boy . . . Virtue is strong and beautiful, Eric, and vice is downcast in her awful presence’). Yet the narrative is strong enough to sweep the hypnotised reader along. The incidents that appear in Eric are the staple of a thousand school stories, including those in the Magnet and Gem fifty years on. Farrar certainly has it in for Eric, who is punished not only for his sins but for those of others. Twice he is caned for implication in cribbing conspiracies into which he has been reluctantly drawn. He is caned again for laughing in church at the antics of a grasshopper on a woman’s hat. For insulting his ever sympathetic master Walter Rose, a deep-dyed Christian, he is made to apologise in front of the full school. Unable to resist peer pressure, he swears and smokes cigars. A sudden popularity envelops him when, on a coastal stroll, he rescues the doomed Russell from a rising tide; the same tide in which he will later find floating the body of his younger brother Vernon, whom he has failed to shield from vicious overtures. Seen to be drunk at prayers (so drunk that at roll-call he answers ‘Yes, sir’ instead of ‘Adsum’) he is ordered to be expelled, a penalty rescinded after much grovelling. Worse is to come. Blackmailed by the publican who supplies the boys with brandy (the drug-dealer of the day), Eric is discovered tampering with a locked box containing cricket money. In the tradition of Victorian scamps he runs away to sea, where he finds what a real flogging with a rope’s end is like. On his return he learns that news of his misdeeds has brought about the death in a faraway land of his mother, not the sort of mother to excuse a blackguard son as a ‘loveable rogue’. Overcome by impacted guilt and terminal remorse, he himself falls dead, the fourth death in the book. ‘Let none of you think his life has been wasted,’ Walter Rose tells the mourning school. Instead of invoking a vision of Eric’s pale, wasted hands waving from Kibroth-Hattaavah, he says that they will meet their ‘dear departed brother in a holier and a happier world’. Farrar, apostrophising to the end, exclaims: ‘Poor Eric! I do not fear that I have wronged your memory.’

Farrar was uneasy about the way discipline was enforced at Roslyn. It could present a singular spectacle. The admirable but sorely tried Rose, having flogged the bully Brigson until he rolls whimpering on the floor, orders him to take on his back each of the boys he has led astray so that they in turn may be caned. Unlike the bully, the pick-a-back boys neither wince nor cry. Afterwards, penitent, they execrate the bully and give cheers, three times three, for the wielder of the cane. Did not something very similar happen at Eton after Dr Keate had flogged eighty boys in one day? Much better than a system which produced this sort of orgy, in Farrar’s view, was the monitorial way of maintaining discipline, which he finds space in Eric to defend. The monitorial method had come some way since it was introduced into the Bell and Lancaster church schools earlier that century, when its more visionary advocates claimed that with its aid a single master could control a thousand pupils. (In the Lancaster schools the practice of ‘basketing’ dullards, so feared by Betjeman at Marlborough, was conducted by the monitors, who invited the rest of the class to jeer at ‘the bird in a cage’.) Farrar described the improved monitorial system, in which senior boys ensured fair play, as a ‘noble safeguard’, a Palladium of happiness and morality, preventing bullying, upholding manliness and enlisting boys on the side of the honourable and just. Not all who were admitted to this Palladium took such a kindly view, as innumerable memoirs have shown.

At Roslyn School parental intervention could be effective in confounding bullies. When Eric, initially, was a day boarder, his missionary father, on leave, lodged nearby and often watched the boys at play. One day, seeing a bully in action, he advanced with ‘the riding crop which he happened to be carrying’ and gave the offender ‘by far the severest castigation he had ever undergone’, finally flinging him aside with a ‘phew of disgust’. Sensibly, no action was taken against the angry man of God who happened to be loitering by a school playground with a riding whip.

Send Letters To:

The Editor
London Review of Books,
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address, and a telephone number.

Letters

Vol. 25 No. 10 · 22 May 2003

It appears to be the case that Charles Vaughan, the 19th-century headmaster of Harrow who resigned following an affair with one of the boys when the young John Addington Symonds was also a pupil there, did so not under pressure from the boy’s father, as E.S. Turner states (LRB, 17 April), but from Symonds’s. The boy had told Symonds, producing letters by Vaughan to prove it, and a year later Symonds, by then at Oxford, related the story to John Conington, Professor of Latin, who urged him to make it public. What Symonds did was tell his father, an eminent Bristol surgeon, who confronted Vaughan and demanded his resignation. It was again Symonds senior who, repeating his threat of exposure, made sure that Vaughan rejected the bishopric Palmerston offered him in 1863.

It throws an interesting light on the times that Palmerston knew perfectly well why Vaughan had resigned from Harrow, and so did the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Bishop of Oxford. (Parallels with the current situation of the Catholic Church in the US and elsewhere are tempting.) On leaving Harrow, Vaughan became vicar of Doncaster and legendary in the Church of England for his seemingly incomprehensible refusal to accept high office. The New Age revivalist Sir George Trevelyan, himself an old Harrovian, was happy to quote Vaughan’s statement, ‘I was afraid of ambition,’ as the explanation.

The story isn’t new, but what is striking is that Conington and Symonds junior were in reality homosexual, yet conspired to expose a third, Vaughan, who had made a high-risk move to evade society’s taboos. John Chandos in Boys Together views Symonds as having been a jealous betrayer, relating the story in high places through envy that Vaughan had selected what J.R. Vincent in his review of Symonds’s memoirs (TLS, 20 July 1984) called ‘the house tart’ for his attentions rather than Symonds himself.

At the same time as Symonds was outing Vaughan to his father, he was himself conducting an intense, though apparently chaste, love affair with a 15-year-old Bristol choirboy, Willie Dyer. In what must for the recipient have been a bizarre conjunction of events, Symonds confessed his infatuation to his father, who ordered him to stop seeing the boy, an injunction Symonds didn’t wholly obey.

Father and son had co-operated over such matters before. Symonds junior had ‘entirely abandoned onanism’ at the age of 15, despite since the age of eight enjoying fantasies of naked sailors sexually abusing him and calling him their ‘dirty pig’. Symonds senior subsequently treated his son’s ‘nocturnal pollutions’ with a mixture of quinine and strychnine, of which Vincent commented: ‘This truly Gladstonian mixture of self-suppression and stimulation would unhinge any mind.’

After resigning his fellowship at Magdalen following allegations again involving choirboys, Symonds junior went on to become Victorian England’s only champion of gay rights, couching his views in scholarly, medical or Hellenistic terms. He married in 1864, but later persuaded his wife to accept a celibate relationship. Henry James, with uncharacteristic daring, based Mark Ambient in his story ‘The Author of Beltraffio’ (1884) on Symonds and his marital situation. Symonds and James met only once but they remained in correspondence. ‘It seemed to me the victims of a common passion should sometimes exchange a look,’ James wrote to him in 1884, ostensibly of Italy. ‘Perhaps I have divined the innermost cause of J.A.S’s discomfort,’ he wrote to Gosse about the story. ‘A post-card (in covert words) would relieve the suspense of the perhaps-already-too-indiscreet H.J.’

Bradley Winterton
Taipei

Vol. 25 No. 11 · 5 June 2003

As E.S. Turner (LRB, 17 April) writes, the unblemished reputation of Charles Vaughan vanished overnight when the facts about his relationships with his pupils at Harrow were published and his ostensible motive for refusing the See of Rochester – fear of ambition – was exposed as hypocrisy. Vaughan was, however, described on his death as ‘the most useful man in his generation to the Church of England’, chiefly because he was one of the first to see that a degree from Oxbridge or Durham was not sufficient to train a clergyman. When he became vicar of Doncaster, he collected groups of young graduates who came to live with him in the vicarage. They studied New Testament Greek in the mornings and did parish visiting in the afternoons. They became known as ‘Vaughan’s Doves’ and included a future Archbishop of Canterbury. Vaughan’s work led to the establishment of theological colleges at the end of the 19th century.

Alfred Jowett
Sheffield

send letters to

The Editor
London Review of Books
28 Little Russell Street
London, WC1A 2HN

letters@lrb.co.uk

Please include name, address and a telephone number

Read anywhere with the London Review of Books app, available now from the App Store for Apple devices, Google Play for Android devices and Amazon for your Kindle Fire.

Sign up to our newsletter

For highlights from the latest issue, our archive and the blog, as well as news, events and exclusive promotions.