by P. J. Rich
The British Empire’s and the English public schools’ peculiar system of rituals and rewards had more in common than has been realized. In Chains of Empire, Paul Rich related this to controversies about historical causality, morphic resonance, chaos, and the claims to influence of other bastions of the Imperial <i>ethos</i> such as the traditional gentlemen’s clubs of St. James’s. Rituals of Empires considers this symbolism in detail.
With the trilogy English Public Schools and Ritualistic Imperialism, Paul Rich has interjected himself into a lively controversy over the place of the English public schools in British history. Correlli Barnett blamed the English public schools for Britain’s decline, while Cyril Connolly showed that the schoolboy syndrome was a part of British social history. Dr. Rich’s trilogy concerns more than the importance of the schools to Imperial rule: it points to new directions in historiography. In his first volume -Elixir of Empire: English Public Schools, Ritualism, Freemasonry and Imperialism- he asserted that the schools espoused a ritualistic style that shaped the Empire. In Rituals of Empire, the public school symbolism reflected in the epipherma of the Empire is explored – and Dr. Rich further substantiates his assertion that Freemasonry was involved with both British Imperialism and the public schools.