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.