Wednesday, 1 July 2015

On a more positive note, reading this has been like spending a week in erudite but unstuffy good company with the kind of English teacher I certainly never had. If only!
Oh, to have read as many books as Professor Carey ... far too late now to catch up! Why have I never read any Milton? Because I thought he would be stuffy and religious - but Carey makes intimidating authors seem like friends you simply haven't met yet. I have a feeling I'm probably too intellectually lazy these days for Milton - but I do feel inspired to rediscover Robert Browning who sounds so much more exciting than when I plodded through his collected poems for A-level.
As I was reading this memoir, I kept trying to remember what I was reading at the age when Professor Carey was plunging into English literature. Actually, it wasn't all Jackie magazine and Cosmo (and every Sunday newspaper spread out on the floor). At school we read quite a lot of Shakespeare; Chaucer, Dryden and Pope - which I loved -  lots of Dickens, Hardy, all three of the Brontes and most of Jane Austen, and Mrs Gaskell because she was local; nothing much later than DH Lawrence, though. On my own - it was a long month waiting for the next shiny copy of Cosmo - I tackled Great Works mostly because I liked the idea of being the kind of person who read them. (It's gratifying to discover that Professor Carey was just as bored with Don Quixote as I was).
So what happened? My intellectual pretensions seem to have gone the way of my waistline. If found, please return to owner.


Sue said...

I too read much more intellectual books when I was young (and slimmer). I read a lot of Shakespeare at school which I loved and never read now. I also read Milton -Paradise Lost Books 1 & 2 for A level which I enjoyed. Despite going to a girls' school I can recall no women writers on the syllabus which maybe why I seem to read nothing but women now. I may just buy myself a copy each of Macbeth and Hamlet and reacquaint myself with my A level texts.

mary said...

After reading Carey's book, I felt like drawing up a reading-list, Sue. Have possibly missed my moment for MIlton - but I do feel drawn to John Donne and Browning. I was trying to remember when I last stretched myself intellectually - a long, long time ago. MInd you, I think Prof Carey's habitat is more conducive!