Thursday, 12 November 2009

Tristan Hunt's Education

In case I don’t get round to writing about the conversation on Trotsky and Engels on the South Bank last night, let me mention one incidental thing that struck me powerfully.

Tristan Hunt (the historian who has written a biography of Engels) said he’d been hooked on Engels since he was 11, when his teacher at prep school read them the whole of The Condition of the Working Class in England, a chapter a week.

(Hunt is from the strangely named Queen Mary, London -- as if it were a ship, or indeed a queen (it’s actually a university) -- and I've noticed that every scholar I hear or read from that institution seems impressive.)

I doubt whether that sort of teaching is even conceivable in today’s state education system, of which perhaps the biggest failing is its lack of substantial content and denial of scope for deep intellectual engagement.

No comments: