The novel was originally published as being «by an Old Boy of Rugby», and much of it is based on the author's experiences. Tom Brown is largely based on the author's brother, George Hughes; and George Arthur, another of the book's main characters, is based on Arthur Penrhyn Stanley. The fictional Tom's life also resembles the author's in that the culminating event of his school career was a cricket match.
Tom Brown was tremendously influential on the genre of British school novels, which began in the 19th century, and is one of the few still in print. A sequel, Tom Brown at Oxford, was published in 1861 but is not as well known. (Summary from Wikipedia)
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