Posted February 7, 2008on:
(At that stage aren’t students taking the subject because they want to, with the knowledge that it’s gonna be about Conrad, Hawthorne and Achebe and not bloody McEwan? Do you really need to be wheedling them with tv book club approved texts?)
Update: John Sutherland states that reports have been misleading and that the book club was only used as an example of what sources students could use to get ideas about what books to select for the modules in which they’re given that choice. I’m only slightly appeased — I still protest against making any post-1990 category compulsory. It looks fairly stupid to me when educators, who presumably don’t believe that classics are “dull or boring”, constantly link anything exciting, thrilling and revelatory to the new and recent. I don’t know what to think when an evil Penguin USA executive is wholly taken with ways to repackage and reintroduce older works to newer generations while Oxford and Cambridge examiners are more concerned about getting in on the fabulously new. And this move is aimed at 6th form students (working at taking the Oxbridge A-levels for they are different versions) who, again I must stress, are typically the sort of students who are perfectly satisfied, even, my word, excited about Conrad and Eliot. What’s going on in the UK? What am I missing here?
Travel writing, FFS. You want to mark bloody papers with analyses of Bill Bryson walking about in Brighton?