9 results for 'english literature'
I am a happy anomaly; a quirky mother, book lover, gardener and now a new writer. I was born an old soul, according to my mother and spent most of my childhood buried in a book.If there is nothing to read. I have been known to desperately scan the backs of cereal boxes or phone books.
I once casually mentioned, to no one in particular, that I was simply an ordinary mum, when the diningroom fell silent. “No, I am sorry, Mum, but you are definitely not ordinary; you are the furthest thing from a normal mother”, remarked one quick-witted daughter. Everyone broke out laughing including... (more)
My grandfather, my father’s father, attended Eton College before the Second World War, leaving there for Sandhurst when he was seventeen. During his time at school he got to know M. R. James, who was provost until his death in the summer of 1936. Grandfather was among the successive waves of boys that James introduced to the tingly delights of the ghost story, a genre in which the old master excelled, writing some of the best tales in the English language. He learned to love the ghost story from James just as I was later to learn to love the ghost story from him.
Montague Rhodes James,... (more)
A day or two before the conclusion of the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Pact, a devil’s bargain that presaged the onset of the Second World War, the writer George Orwell had a dream. I imagine lots of other people had the same dream at the same time, one clearly born of acute anxiety. Of his particular dream Orwell later wrote:What I knew in my dream that night was that the long drilling in patriotism which the middle classes go through had done its work, and that once England was in a serious jam it would be impossible for me to sabotage. It was his intention, if he could, to fight; he no longer wished... (more)
A Dickens of a year draws to a close. We’ve had a lengthy party, celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of one of our most cherished writers. It’s been marked in all manner of ways: in commemoration, in lectures, in biography (a very good one by Claire Tomalin) and in fresh adaptations of some of his books for television and cinema.
In fact the year has been bookended by visual adaptations of Great Expectations, a novel that might be said to have put the mellow in drama, the first a three part BBC series screened last December, and now a new cinema version directed by Mike Newell,... (more)
George Orwell is one of the true artists of English prose. Two of his pieces in particular, Why I Write and Politics and the English Language, essays on the uses and abuse of our common language, should be compulsory reading for all those in public life.
As a writer he has long been a favourite of mine, ever since I discovered him early in my school days. I’ve recently had cause to think specifically about his political commitments, his commitment to what he calls ‘democratic socialism.’
It seems to me that his choices are at variance with his deepest sympathies: he says he is... (more)
...the River and into the Trees and the posthumous Islands in the Stream would never have been published if they had not come with the Hemingway label. But - along with The Old Man and the Sea - A Farewell to Arms, For Whom the Bell Tolls and To Have and Have Not will stand as classics of English literature. So, too, will Fiesta: the Sun Also Rises for introducing the world to a new, more rigorous prose style, though it’s a novel that really did not engage me emotionally. Overall I think that Hemingway did for twentieth century American literature what Mark Twain did for the... (more)
... likely to have been The Woman in White, a mystery story, or The Moonstone, the first proper detective novel in the English language, the two great poles of his literary career. In between there is a lot of middling stuff, some good, others dire.
But when it comes to the history of English literature Collins deserves to be remembered in his own right, especially in this year of Dickens. In many ways he is such a sharp contrast with the latter. Dickens was the acme of Victorian bourgeois respectability, solidly married, the archetype of the pater familias.
Collins never... (more)
February 7, 2012 is an important date in the calendar of English literature – the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Charles Dickens. I’ve loved the work of Dickens for as long as I can remember, well, ever since my class in preparatory school performed a play based on A Christmas Carol. Along with Dostoevsky he ranks as my favourite author.
I’ve now read all of his major and much of the minor work. Our Mutual Friend is a firm favourite among his novels, featuring Lavvy the Irrepressible, one of the best minor characters, in my estimation. Like her I am neither minx nor sphinx!... (more)
Open any anthology on fascism and there is bound to be an introduction telling you that fascism is difficult if not impossible to define. At my own risk I’ll hazard a definition: fascists, generally speaking, are wholly devoid of a sense of humour.
Let me give you a practical example. Take the great humorist P. G. Wodehouse, the satirist of the English upper classes, the creator of Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, possibly the greatest craftsman in words that our language and literature ever produced. Jeeves and Bertie are his best known creations, but there is also Roderick Spode.... (more)
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