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THE CRISIS OF THE MERITOCRACY

THE CRISIS OF THE MERITOCRACY

The crisis of the meritocracy: Britain’s transition to mass education since the Second World War PETER MANDLER, 2020 Oxford: Oxford University Press 361pp, hardback, £25, ISBN 9780198840145 Cambridge historian Peter Mandler has a fundamentally optimistic story to tell about the growth of universal education in Britain over the last seventy years and one can sense… Continue reading…

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NormBlog – The Weblog of Norman Geras
December 09, 2008

Writer’s choice 184: Melissa Benn
Melissa Benn is a journalist, campaigner and novelist. She writes regularly for The Guardian. Her books include Public Lives, Madonna and Child: Towards a New Politics of Motherhood, and (with Clyde Chitty) A Tribute to Caroline Benn: Education and Democracy. Her latest novel, One of Us, will be released in Vintage paperback early in 2009. Below Melissa writes about Theodore Dreiser’s Jennie Gerhardt.

Melissa Benn on Jennie Gerhardt by Theodore Dreiser

It is not always easy to write about a favourite book or even to understand why some works are so much more meaningful to us than others. But with Jennie Gerhardt, Theodore Dreiser’s second and intensely tragic novel, I am acutely aware of how much of the book’s power is, for me, tied to memories of the last days in the life of my mother, Caroline Benn, proud American, socialist, scholar, lover of 19th-century novels and a great admirer of Dreiser.

(Read it here)

Latest writing

How politics lost touch with everyday life

Early on in his elegiac study of how our literary and aesthetic past might animate our political future, Marc Stears singles out DH Lawrence’s “wonderful essay” Insouciance, written in 1928, which he believes embodies “the vision that animates this book”. In the essay, Lawrence describes a meeting with two elderly ladies who try to draw… Continue reading…

Latest news & events

A Cold War Tragedy

Melissa will be in conversation with Anne Sebba about her new book, ‘Ethel Rosenberg – A Cold War Tragedy.’ Weds 15th September 2021, 5-6pm, in the Robert Graves Tent at the Wimbledon Book Festival. More information here.   Continue reading…