Dan Sandman

08: Coriolanus by Plutarch

In Biography, Books, History, Non-Fiction on 19/02/2016 at 12:00 pm

Coriolanus by PlutarchFulltime postgraduate education has stopped me reading for enjoyment. Now I study books, reference journals and visit research libraries. When I do read for pleasure, it has become harder to sustain interest. A chapter of Conrad before bed maybe, or perhaps a book review in the paper. There was a time when I could get through a whole Dostoyevsky in a week (as long term readers of this blog will have followed).

The main reason is that time is precious. If you have a busy rota of guitar students and assignment deadlines (which I now do), these must take priority.

Studying serious literature at a higher level takes away some its enjoyment. Instead of being fuel for a healthy imagination, these courses teach us that books are discourses on British imperialism or assertions of an entire peoples’ individual human rights. No longer is it possible to simply enjoy where a story takes you, everything must be thought about on an analytical level. The book reviewer part of me, who used to write what he actually thought about books, is currently being educated to become a serious book critic.

So understandably, I don’t have as much inclination to read for pleasure outside of my coursework. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing…

Now I have a tutor who reads my essays in some considerable depth, marking them so that I can improve my work as I progress. In our tutorials, our course books have opened up intelligent conversations on a whole variety of topics. We are no longer floundering about where to go with our writing, now our work has a clear and assessable direction to travel towards. To the delight of this guitar teacher from Primrose Hill in north London, the English masters course at the Open University has focussed my reading so that every hour of every day can be potentially filled with something either educational, creative or enjoyable.

Such as my regular Friday morning writing on here, followed by a trip in search of a Plutarch translation from the 1570s by Thomas North.

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