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David Blaize by E. F. Benson
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David Blaize (1916)

by E. F. Benson

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This novel follows the life of the eponymous character from his last year of prep school to public school: his friendship, varying attitudes to schoolwork, his passion for cricket, and hhis ero-worship/crush on one of the older boys, Maddox—the feelings are mutual but they hold back from anything else. The ending get very dramatic, even laughably so. ( )
  queen_ypolita | Aug 27, 2013 |
David Blaize is E. F. Benson's delightfully nostalgic novel of English public school life. Benson follows young David Blaize from his time at preparatory school to his entry to the sixth form at Marchester College. The novel draws heavily on the author's own schoolboy experiences when at Temple Grove and then Marlborough College. Benson, better than most writers in this genre, memorably evokes the trials and tribulations of life in an English public school during the late Victorian period. The pages resonate with wit and humour. The reader is invited to follow young Blaize as he deals with eccentric masters, experiences halcyon days on the cricket field, frets over dreaded parental visits, and experiences personal growth through a platonic friendship with Maddox, a senior boy at Marchester ...

This is a newly edited and corrected version of the text. It contains a specially commissioned introduction as well as explanatory notes by Craig Paterson ( )
  OrpheusBritannic | Sep 11, 2010 |
E.F. Benson is probably best known to American readers for his Lucia and Miss Mapp novels - humorous tales of life (filled with problematic interpersonal relationships, jealousies and small dramas made large) in smallish English villages. He is the author of more than one hundred books.

"David Blaize" is an autobiographical novel of school life and romance of the eponymous central character from ages thirteen to seventeen. According to the introduction to my edition, the book shares shelf space with quite a number of English novels of the Edwardian (and later) era involving male-and-male schoolboy romances set at boarding schools. As one might expect, the romances are largely platonic, and hand holding and brushing of shoulders are about as graphic as the physicality gets.

The book was written in 1916 and is set about thirty years earlier, but it is a fresh and almost modern read. Antiquated slang("rum", "piffle", "ripping", "juggins", "scrugs", "bang") is a bit of a puzzlement. Also, for the American reader, the pages and pages of cricket play-by-play are off-putting. But we discover David as a young man of some complexity, and we watch him dodge, with effort, the many pitfalls and temptations of his educational environment. As the novel ends, he's ready to go to Oxbridge. "David of King's" (unread by me) chronicles that adventure.
1 vote bbrad | Jan 8, 2010 |
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A partly autobiographical novel about public school life and the joys and torments of boyhood.
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