English Literature

‘Love on the Dole’ – a forgotten classic

love on the dole

The bookshelves in English classrooms or English departments can be the depositories of secret treasures. A few minutes stolen in another colleague’s classroom while waiting for the Men’s to be freed-up or to avoid the threat of a suspected cover … Continue reading

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‘This is not about me’ by Janice Galloway

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  I have a long connection with Janice Galloway, author of The Trick is to Keep Breathing the Scottish Text for Higher English, even though she doesn’t know it. At a book reading twenty years ago I asked her a … Continue reading

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Chip on my shoulder about Scottish classics? Probably! – James Hogg and The Three Perils of Man

Perils of man

It was once said about Linford Christie, the sprinter who ran for Great Britain, that he was perfectly balanced with ‘a chip on each shoulder’. I don’t know if I have developed a chip on each shoulder yet, but I … Continue reading

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Hamlet – a fascinating character and a great play for Higher English

Hamlet in black

Hamlet is one of the greatest plays ever written. It’s not easy to explain why it is such a great play. Many people think that the plot is so flawed that it is amazing it works at all. It seems … Continue reading

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It’s time James Hogg was given his rightful place at the peak of Scottish Literature

The Three Perils of Man

I’m reading James Hogg’s The Three Perils of Man. Unlike Hogg’s The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner, it is not very well known. Thanks to Andre Gide’s introduction to the 1945 publication Hogg’s portrayal of a man … Continue reading

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National 5 English Scottish Texts – Selected Poems of Norman MacCaig and my new change of attitude

wee-maccaig

I’ve had a difficult relationship with Norman MacCaig. To me as a high school student, reading MacCaig was to open the doors to a world of dreariness that I did not understand. His poetry lacked the tightness, metrical regularity and … Continue reading

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Interview with James Robertson, author of The Testament of Gideon Mack

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James Robertson is one of the foremost novelists writing in Scotland. His novel The Testament of Gideon Mack was selected by the SQA to be one of the Scottish Text novels for National 5 English. The novel starts in the … Continue reading

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Melissa Reads… Shakespeare & Company

University of Nebraska Press

My last blog was about the work of Colette, a Parisian known for her scandalous writing and lifestyle. Similarly, Sylvia Beach was renowned for her connections to Paris’s literary scene and its accompanying excess. Her English language bookshop, Shakespeare and … Continue reading

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English exams – Get the basics right: Part 2

As in the last post, this post focuses on making sure you follow simple steps to exam success. A lot of this is commonsense. However, this is what goes out the window when you’re sitting the biggest exams of your … Continue reading

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Higher English – The Handmaid’s Tale – Understanding

A popular text for Higher English is The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. It is a contemporary classic. Partly because the writing is skilled, partly because the issues and themes in the book were relevant in the 1980s, and still … Continue reading

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