English Literature

Re-Reading Waterland

How does our understanding of a novel shift over time?I first read Graham Swift’s Waterland as a university fresher. Twenty-five years later, I’ve recently re-read the novel as I prepare to teach it to a group of A level students. Reading the novel afresh has been an interesting exercise in how we read and how…

Walking the Chilterns

Twenty minute blogging project – day four A Sunday evening of stillness and wood pigeons cooing, magpies skirting low over fields, raking the freshly turned soil. Flutters of sparrows, easily startled, gorge on seeds, while crickets chirp. Flies drone and the hedgerows speak of the coming autumn: ripening sloes, chestnuts swelling and the first turnings…

Theatre Review 2013

Arturo Ui

Nicholas Hytner’s ‘Othello’ and Jonathan Church’s ‘Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui’ prove afresh the power of live performance I seem to have been sat in the darkness of a theatre much less in 2013, but two productions stand out for being particularly powerful: Jonathan Church’s version of The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui and Othello,…

Beyond ‘the fever and the fret’

Review of John Keats: A New Life by Nicholas RoeThe Hebrides are one of the wildest landscapes in the British Isles. Even today, reaching them from the mainland is no small endeavour. Battered by the wind and waves of the mighty Atlantic, their beauty is often in the bleak and the rugged, while their history…