A. S. Neill, founder of Summerhill, the most admired and most feared of all progressive schools, was famous as a schoolteacher, educational reformer, and author of illuminating and stylish books about education and the mind of the child. But few people know he was also a dedicated, prolific, uninhibited, witty and often mischievous letter writer. This selection of gems, first published in 1983, has been chosen from hundreds of his letters by his biographer. It includes letters about education, children, politics, writing, fatherhood, the Bomb, old age and death.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Zoë Neill; Introduction; Chronology; Acknowledgements; Note on the Text; The Letters: 1. Pioneering 2. Education 3. Daily Life 4. Children, Parents and Psychology 5. Heroes: Homer Lane, Wilhelm Reich, H. G. Wells, Henry Miller 6. Politics 7. Authors, Books and Writing 8. Humour 9. Fatherhood 10. Fame and Recognition 11. The American Connection 12. The Bomb 13. Old Age, Death and Immortality; Glossary of Names: People, Schools; Index
‘Neill’s letters show him as an enchanting, delightful man who had absolutely no respect for authority, and who valued freedom more than anything.’ Richard Boston, Punch
‘Neill positively spouted letters, like a vast whale, pouring forth advice, reproof, complaint to a faithful circle of friends and acquaintances, never in doubt about his central thesis – that children should be free and not shackled.’ Christopher Price, New Statesman
‘Highly informative and eminently readable – the essence of the man comes through as in the fragments of a great confession.’ James Michie, Education