‘Why Isn’t He More Well Known?’ Ponders Private English Tutor
George Macaulay Trevelyn, in his English Social History said:
‘Education has produced a vast population able to read but unable to distinguish what is worth reading.’
At the risk of being called ‘snobbish’ this private tutor agree with him.
Part of my problem, as I see it, is that I have received an education in English Literature that exceeds that received by the majority. Having been corralled, pushed, shoved, directed and tugged between certain literary parameters, I was Educated into what is considered ‘Good Literature’ by an Ivory Tower Elite. The considered classics of the likes of Tolstoy, Dickens and Twain I devoured with aplomb. I was taught to dissect and ravage to within an inch of their broken spines, classic after classic after classic.
In the eyes of society, I guess I am what is termed ‘Educated’. Therein lies the rub – I totally agree with Mr Trevelyn but feel that, perhaps, I shouldn’t.
Following his argument through, the novels that immediately spring to mind are E. L. James’ ‘Shades of. . . ‘ trilogy. Joining many of those who have decried their literary quality, I also put my hand in the air and readily admit to not having read them. I have, however, stood in second hand/thrift shops and devoured several pages of the juicier bits. Despite becoming hot under the collar, I am willing to pronounce that I found the quality of writing to be poor. In Mr T’s words, I consider them to be not ‘worth reading’.
Having said that I do wonder why they sold by the pallet load. What is it about them that caught the imagination of the masses? At certain times, there are certain things lacking quality that create a stir. They have a certain something that causes them to go viral. I think the same can be said of films, film stars, songs and pop stars. It is as if society needs something to latch on to. There has to be a latest craze, a buzz that creates a talking point. Don’t look at me – I don’t know what it is.
When I go to my local market I see box upon box of used books. ‘Wonderful!’ thinks I. Then when I’m close enough to read their spines (after having put on my goggles) I remember why I didn’t purchase any last time I browsed. Trashy romances fit only for the skip/dumpster. Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear. Why bother teaching people (predominantly females in this case – why is that?) to read but not teach them to distinguish between what is and what isn’t worth reading?
Then something inside me rails against this opinion when I see half a dozen [a gaggle :-)] of ladies enthusiastically searching through the aforementioned boxes. They like them, they love them, they talk to their friends about them and pass them on to be read by others. Is there anything wrong with that asks this private tutor?
I hear the role of Christian Grey is up for grabs – should I apply?