The Importance of Being Eton

by Nick Fraser

  • Published: 01 May 2008
  • Price: £7.99
  • Format: Paperback
  • Extent: 224p
  • ISBN: 978-1-906021-30-6
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The uniform is Dickensian, the sports arcane, the fees astronomical. But Eton College still stitches itself into the fabric of our national life like no other school – the breeding ground for princes and prime ministers, where the arriviste meets the aristocrat.

What is it about Eton? For many it is a symbol of all that is wrong with Britain: an obstacle to modernity and a powerful force for privilege, elitism, and snobbery. For others it represents a beacon of tradition and excellence in an otherwise monochrome world. But whether you love, loathe, fear or ridicule it, no one can ignore a school which has such an impact on those who go there – and those who don’t.

Award-winning film maker Nick Fraser draws on his own experiences as an “OE”, as well as those of teachers and fellow pupils – famous and infamous – to evaluate the phenomenon that is Eton.

“Lively, sharply observed and attractively personal” – Sunday Times

The Importance of Being Eton  is revelatory – a masterly psychopathology of the Etonian condition” – Ivo Dawnay, Daily Mail

“Worldly, charming and discursive, like a conversation with an erudite man with a short attention span… fascinating and exceptionally perceptive” – Guardian

If I had a top hat I’d doff it to Nick Fraser for the honesty with which he has picked over his own time there, and the way he conveys the flavour of that most peculiar of upbringings” – Tom Fort, Sunday Telegraph

The Importance of Being Eton weaves together social history and literary criticism with charming and at times arresting personal memoir… An excellent book” – New Statesman

“Fraser assembles a collage of Etonian experiences, in which nostalgia and soul-searching overlap with investigative journalism and social criticism” – Henry Hitchins, TLS

“Full of fascinating details” – Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

“A witty, elegaic, mordant account” – The Times

“Lively, sharply observed, attractively personal and amply armed with facts…” John Carey, Sunday Times

About Nick Fraser

Nick Fraser is editor of Storyville, the BBC's acclaimed, award-winning international documentary strand. He has written five non-fiction books, and contributes to many newspapers including the Financial Times. He is a contributing editor at Harper's Magazine, New York.