Blog

Jon Connell's visit to Winchester College

Posted on May 12, 2016 by Paul Woodward | 0 comments


The irrepressible Professor John Sutherland and I visited Winchester College last week, having accepted an invitation from Richard Stillman, the Head of English, to visit the school and talk about Connell Guides. John showed his customary skill in engaging the students using his extraordinary breadth of knowledge to discourse amusingly not just on Hamlet (as we’d planned to do) but also on King Lear and Jane Eyre – firing questions at the students who fielded them with aplomb.

Continue Reading

How Gatsby Became Great

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Connell Guides | 0 comments


Last year marked the 90th anniversary of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic novel The Great Gatsby. Yet back in the 1920s, few would have expected its appeal to last so long. On publication it met with a glut of hostile reviews, sold poorly, and by the time Fitzgerald died in 1940, was practically forgotten. It was only at the end of the 1950s that a gradual build-up of enthusiasm finally secured Gatsby's place as a modern classic, widely anthologised and soon incorporated into American school curricula.

Continue Reading

Amis and McEwan on Writing

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Connell Guides | 0 comments


In a joint interview, Martin Amis and Ian McEwan discuss their writing in The Daily Telegraph. We all feel the pressure of time more these days, says Amis, “and for a very good reason. There’s been an acceleration in one event following the other in our modern world, and writing reflects that… the arrow of plot and development has to be much sharper than it used to be. The great wallowing baggy monster where you follow various digressions – that’s gone, too.”

Continue Reading

The daffodils that inspired Wordsworth

Posted on April 26, 2016 by Connell Guides | 0 comments

Wordsworth’s famous poem ‘
I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud’ is 200 years old this year. Writing in the Paris Review, Dan Piepenbring traces its history. It arose, he says, out of a walk Wordsworth took with his sister, Dorothy, in April 1802. Dorothy recorded the trip in her own journal, and her perspective helps bring the scene to life. Arriving at a section of woods, she and her brother encountered a bank of flowers:

Continue Reading

Fictional justice

Posted on April 20, 2016 by Connell Guides | 1 comment

What would happen to the villains of children’s literature nowadays if the Crown Prosecution Service were able to make the mud stick? The Times consulted the Ministry of Justice…

Continue Reading

Did Shakespeare really retire to Stratford?

Posted on April 08, 2016 by Connell Guides | 0 comments

Shakespeare's house in StratfordShakespeare abandoned London and retired to Stratford in about 1610. That’s what historians and Shakespeare experts have been telling us for 300 years. But is it true? Writing in theTimes Literary Supplement, the Shakespeare scholar Katherine Duncan-Jones suggests that it is not. In a dramatic overturning of received wisdom about the Bard, she supplies evidence that he may have remained in London long after 1610 – and didn’t retire to Stratford until shortly before he died. 

Continue Reading

Literary maps

Posted on April 07, 2016 by Connell Guides | 0 comments


Middle Earth MapIn his book Maps of the Imagination: The Writer as Cartographer, Peter Turchi argues that the relationship between literature and map-making has been unfairly overlooked, and that it may offer scholars a new lens for literary analysis.

Continue Reading