Monday, July 17, 2017

Thomas Gray - a survey of graduates from English Universities

Reading Peter Hitchens, 'The Abolition of Britain from Churchill to Diana', I noted among the cultural changes he laments is the failure to teach the classics of our literature. I started asking graduates what did Thomas Gray mean to them The usual answer is one of ignorance even when I added the clue of 'Elegy in a Country Churchyard'. Four Cambridge graduates in their 20s or 30s, degrees in linguistics, theology, philosophy and engineering had no familiarity with Gray. The same was true of an Exeter graduate, 30s, geography and a Canterbury graduate, 40s in physiotherapy. So far my only positive response was from a Durham graduate in history , 40s age group. Hitchens is right. The poet who gave us, 'Far from the madding crowd' and 'the paths of glory lead but to the grave' is an unknown country to the cream of our graduates so far surveyed.

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