Why read the classics?

It is important for us to read the classics!

“Why?” you ask. “Why should I read the classics? Isn’t reading about pleasure, about what I enjoy? I enjoy Harry Potter so much more than The Brothers Karamazov. I move so much more quickly through Tom Clancy, Clive Cussler than I do W. Somerset Maugham, Ernest Hemingway.”

Read on at Joel Hirst’s blog (in which he echoes my previous words about One Day In The Life of Ivan Denisovich).

Sick and unavailable

I have been off sick since Week 3 and will not be back in action till Week 6. I am unable to answer emails.

Apologies if you have been trying to contact me. I may be able to respond during Reading Week. In the meantime if you have anything urgent that needs attention please contact a relevant tutor.




Lobster Prof v Flailing Feminist Journo

Apart from the content of the debate, this is a useful reminder to would-be journalists that relying on ideological cliches is no substitute for doing your own research into your interviewee (which Newman clearly had not) and applying some critical thinking to your own beliefs.

“Out of the vortex, rifling the air it came..” – In Parenthesis

A reading of the last couple of paras from an early section of In Parenthesis by David Jones.

In Parenthesis is a book-length Modernist poem about the First World War (the only great Modernist work by a Brit rather than an American or Irish writer). It’s not often included in courses on Modernism since, like similar texts, it can appear difficult to get into, but it’s well worth the effort. It’s also a startling contrast to the kind of “war poetry” most people are used to.

Reading list for my Edwardian Lit students, 2nd semester


These are the main texts we will be dealing with (not necessarily in this order) so please make sure you have obtained copies and read them in advance. A schedule of the seminars will be released shortly on Blackboard.

The Hound of the Baskervilles, Conan Doyle

King Solomon’s Mines, Rider Haggard

Dracula, Bram Stoker

The War of the Worlds, H G Wells

Three Men in a Boat, Jerome K Jerome

The Diary of a Nobody, George and Weedon Grossmith

Peter Pan, J M Barrie

The Strange Case of Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde, Robert Louis Stevenson

The Doll’s House, Henrik Ibsen (in the Dover Thrift edition)

Poems: “Convergence of the Twain” by Thomas Hardy; “Cargoes” by John Masefield

The following short podcasts are available on YouTube: “Dracula As The Jew”; “Peter Pan And The Mother Lode”; Three Men In A Boat: A Microlecture”; “An Air That Kills: Housman’s Blue Remembered Hills”; “Dowson’s Cynara: A Microlecture”. These are at English Readings: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCYJz11iRqn9CJMh4Zr7DLlA