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Lord Dismiss Us (Phoenix fiction) Paperback – April, 1984


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Product Details

  • Series: Phoenix fiction
  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press (T) (April 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226092445
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226092447
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5.2 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,831,288 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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13 of 18 people found the following review helpful By J. J. Joseph on July 3, 2010
Format: Paperback
I'm very happy to have found this jewel amist the cobwebs of a used bookstore. I highly recommend taking some time with it. Lord, Dismiss Us is a remarkable novel with quite some depth to it. The setting is the Spring term of a boys' boarding school in the English countryside. Of note, Campbell actually makes the spirit of the school, for lack of a better phrase, one of the novel's characters as well giving us 2 main characters plus a number of other near-protagonists. The characters are quirky, passionate, intelligent, human & touchingly resonant with familiarity. We've all gotten caught up in being distracted from growing up by falling in--& being confused by--love. Campbell has penned a tragicomedy without much excessive narrative exposition but his lively dialogue gives us everything we need to follow the story, share the characters' growing pains & root for their successes. A criticism might be some readers may get lost with so many characters but Campbell handles his charactes with aplomb; no one gets lost. Campbell's style lies somewhere between a fleshed out play & a stripped down novel; it falls neatly in line with proper British restraint, the kind that sticks it tongue out when you turn your back. At 1 point the chaplain has the thought, "It is possible to have murder in one's heart. She had lately given a new & terrifying meaning to many sections of the Old Testament." The plot is engaging & unpredictable, surprising the reader. There are themes those more conservative will be uncomfortable with but Campbell never quite crosses that line. In fact, sex never quite happens, although it does approach. The novel is an insightful, biting comment on the destructive nature of, not so much homophobia in particular, but intolerance & the damage too close adherence to propriety can wreak, in general. At term's end, the reader is certainly left with both a bittersweet aftertaste & a need to ruminate on the limits of sacrifice.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Eclectic Reader on August 3, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Without question, the British public school system (what Americans would refer to as private boarding schools) which isolated the sexes of the students during their school years had an enormous impact upon the lives of countless school children. There are novels aplenty to attest to that and the uniqueness of the system--so much so that one could almost consider the British boys (in particular) school novels a subgenre of British fiction. Michael Campbell's Lord Dismiss Us (1967; with an Introduction by Dennis Drabelle in the 2014 re-issued edition by Valancourt Books) is one of the more distinguished works to be set at such a school--in this case, at the fictional Weatherhill (based upon St. Columba's College in Dublin). A new headmaster, Philip Crabtree and his wife have arrived at the school to replace a long-time Head who, according to many, grew too slack "both in the classroom and in the field" and lackadaisical with the school and its some two hundred boys suffering the consequences. The Crabtrees' mission is two-fold: "bringing Weatherhill up to the mark" and proving to critics that such a school system is not "finished" and "out of date." It is a colossal undertaking, especially given the nature of such a school system, the diversity of the staff and students in age, backgrounds, and values and the rather inflexible attitude Philip Crabtree brings to his mission.

What elevates Lord Dismiss Us from many novels set in the British public school system are the characters Campbell creates and the situations in which he places them. Philip Crabtree comes the closest to being a stereotypical character: a humorless and stern new man in charge variously described as "weak and ridiculous.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Go on August 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
I love the genre of British schoolboy novels, especially when there is a gay theme involved. I believe this book to be the best of that genre. It certainly caused a stir when it was first published in England. Although I can understand why it didn't enjoy similar popularity in America, being out of its cultural context, I think that's a shame. It has one of the most beautiful love relationships among adolescents portrayed in any book I've read, has plenty of engaging characters, and besides that it is at times absolutely hysterical, in that dry British way that we Americans have a hard time duplicating. I highly recommend this one.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bullzeye on July 11, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A boarding school in England around the roaring 20s. Many interesting tidbits on going to or living in one. It happens to be about life, growing up, the struggle, boys turning into men. Centered around many characters, at times, then to narrow back to just a few. What is this love between men/boys. To some it is vile and to others something to have experienced and move on others all consuming. The Bible is quoted some and the author use of the love and devotion between David and Jonathan. The love that surpasses the love of a woman.

Anyhow this love between boys growing into men seems all evil in the eyes of the new head master and family. Hes going to put a stop to it. And back in this time frame as always they thought it was only few who could engage in this sort of thing and so a sort of purge begins. There are some very strong characters in this novel. Unforgettable. Absolutely brilliant paragraphs to pages, bringing across to me and my hope, others what love is or isnt. There are also some terrible people displayed here although mostly well written and believable in what they do or try to do to those "others".

I didnt want the book to end. Especially the way it did. A unique look at a unique situation. The only thing I can manage to think wrong, to many characters, to fast and getting them right in my mind for the entire ride. I had to return to previous chapters to figure out who I was reading about early on. But you get used to it and familiar to most if not all. As this book did for me, it may just bring your school days back into focus and a longing. Which I still cant explain. Are we ever more a person, than after school is over? Or are we still trying to figure this all out. Its not the schooling we remember as much as it was the surprise to find out who we were and are becoming?
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