Thursday, 5 June 2008

Ernie Bevin and English

My scholarly productivity (i.e.publications) isn’t what it was but I've managed to get one thing together recently, for those who might be interested. It’s about Ernest Bevin, Foreign Secretary in the post-war Labour government, who left school at 11 and worked in succession as agricultural labourer, carter, leader of the TGWU and wartime Minister of Labour. The article asks how he managed to reach the highest level of government (where he was brilliant, by all accounts) with so little formal education—and draws implications for the ways we should think about education, and about English.

It’s called ‘The Groves of Academe and the 'edgerows of Experience’ and can be got (I hope) from

Sorry – I can’t get this Blogger software to do a link to long URLs.

The publishers require me to add the following:

Author Posting. (c) Peter Medway, 2008.
This is the author's version of the work. It is posted here by permission of Peter Medway for personal use, not for redistribution.
The definitive version was published in Changing English, Volume 15 Issue 2, June 2008.
doi:10.1080/13586840802052146 (

1 comment:

Jen G said...

Hi Pete! Just got a chance to catch up with your blog. Haven't read the article yet, but will look it up.

I enjoyed your thoughts on Saintsbury and pre-1800s writing and thinking. Regarding the exposure of students to prose from earlier periods, I find that quite often modern students are at a loss (initially) even when faced with relatively recent prose - from the 1930s, for instance.

Finally (sorry for the long comment), thanks for relaying those bits of the Eliot review by Zadie Smith. If any modern writer is qualified to comment on Eliot, surely it is Smith.