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[Local businessman Stephen Joll] said: “There is a story here to be told and Malton needs its own story, so why not capitalise on the links with Dickens like Whitby and Bram Stoker and Haworth and the Brontës.The Spectator has an article on a recent interview to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Education.
“Dickens was a great social philanthropist, advocating education and encouraging the well-off to care for the needy. We’re planning to spread that spirit through education, the arts, charitable initiatives and community engagement.” (Karen Darley)
It’s not his only battle. Another is persuading state schools to prepare pupils for top universities – but Les Ebdon, whom Vince Cable appointed as director of the Office for Fair Access, sees things differently. He recently omplained about the ‘dreadful snobbery’ in some schools ‘about whether people go to university’. When I mention this to Gove, he suddenly goes quiet – in the way of a man moved beyond apoplexy. He walks over to his desk and picks up what he describes as ‘my new favourite book’: The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes, which draws on hundreds of published and unpublished memoirs to show how the poor once educated themselves. What happened next was an unusual part of the interview, and perhaps worth reproducing in full.The Spectator, too, has several 'writers and others' confess the classics they can't stand.
‘Jonathan Rose [the author] who is a left wing academic, says I think it is more interesting to look at what the readers have done who lead or have led mainstream lives at work for Britain. So he has got a quotation here from a Durham miner at the age of 14 who said that, this is 14, Like a Fennimore Cooper Indian I was tireless and silent once I started reading – Walter Scott, Charles Read, George Elliot, the Brontë’s, later on Hardy, Hugo, Dumas and scores of others. Then came Shakespeare, the Bible, Milton and the line of poets generally. I was hardly sixteen when I picked up James Thomson’s Seasons and Stead’s Penny Poets. I wept for the shepherd who died in the snow.” A 16 year old Durham miner.(Fraser Nelson)
Susannah HerbertGalleycat has an article on how to play an extremely literary game of Scrabble (based on the book Is That a Word?: From AA to ZZZ, the Weird and Wonderful Language of SCRABBLE, by David Bukszpan) where
[...] Moving swiftly on, the once-revered novels I tried recently to read again, only for my eyes to roll back lifeless into their sockets, are David Copperfield and Wuthering Heights. The opening chapter of DC is an encyclopaedia entry on the history and significance of cauls. But really, who cares about cauls when the Mudstones, Micawber and Uriah Heep are in the wings? Press delete, Mr Dickens, make it snappy. As for Emily Brontë, the sexiness of Heathcliff is much overplayed. He needs a good bath. (Digby Warde-Aldam)
Other characters you could invite to your Scrabble party are JANE EYRE, FAUST, QUIXOTE and LOTHARIO, and HARRY POTTER (but first you’ll have to ask JAY KAY ROW LING). (Jason Boog)Times Higher Education mentions the Brontës in an article on TB. M. Narbón has created a lovely set of miniature porcelain dolls based on the Brontë household.