Hello and welcome back! My name is Amy and I am a counsellor at IEC and I am very excited to get involved with Books for Thought. This month I interviewed Dr George Yeats, senior lecturer in English Literature on the Liberal Arts programme at Regent’s University London. We spoke about what led him to be interested in English Literature and what makes teaching at Regent’s so great. He says that one of the nicest things about teaching at Regent’s is the personalised contact between the learners and teachers and how interactive the classes are, both of which are facilitated by the smaller size of the university. Click here and here to read more about what it is like to study at Regent’s and what sets it apart from other universities in the UK, and read on to find out more about the books he has recommended for curious potential English Literature students!
Book One: Non- fiction
This month: Letters written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark
Written by: Mary Wollstonecraft
The Wollstonecraft Society. If you are interested to learn more about Mary Wollstonecraft, this is the place to start! This is the webpage of the Wollstonecraft Society, dedicated to everything related to Mary Wollstonecraft. Here you can find a Wollstonecraft comic book, a timeline of her life, and a lecture from London School of Economics, amongst other resources.
Mary Wollstonecraft- The British Library. As well as getting a brief overview of Wollstonecraft’s life, by follwing this link you can also discover relevant articles related to feminist literature and other famous female authors.
To listen: Mary Wollstonecraft’s Birthday Party. This podcast gives you some more historical context of Mary Wollstonecraft and her work. The song at the beginning of the podcast is a little bit quirky, but overall it is a very interesting listen!
To watch: We need an age of reason (TEDx). Trustee of the Wollstonecraft Society, Bee Rowlatt, who enthusiastically describes Wollstonecraft as “ the world’s first and only single mum-enlightenment-treasure-hunting- philosopher on the high seas”, was fascinated when reading Letters written in Sweden, Norway and Denmark and in 2015 decided to re-enact Wollstonecraft’s journey herself (and then publish her own book about it). This TEDx talk speaks about Wollstonecraft’s sense of adventure and empowerment, whilst commenting on the political climate in 2016. An engaging and interesting watch, especially if your interest extends beyond English Literature and into the multifaceted field of Liberal Arts.
Book Two: Fiction
This month: Howard’s End
Written by: E. M. Forster
E. M. Forster- The British Library / Britain 1901 -1918- BBC History. This British Library website gives an overview of Forster’s life, providing more context to the book. You can also check out the BBC history page to find out more about pre-war Britain in which Howard’s End is set.
The Return of the Soldier by Rebecca West and The Forsyte Saga by John Galsworthy. These are the two books mentioned in the interview that readers who enjoy Howard’s End may wish to delve into next. In Dr George Yeats’ own words, they “contrast material and spiritual forms of fulfilment”, so if this is a theme that interests you, these two books should definitely be on your to-read list!
To watch: E. M. Forster Obituary Programme (1970) (starts at 2:23). This programme, broadcasted on the BBC shortly after Forster’s death, offers an in-depth exploration of his life and works. It consists of, among other things: interviews with his friends and colleagues; snippets of interviews with Forster himself; a clip of the early BBC dramatic reproduction of Howard’s End; a performance of the libretto which Forster wrote for Benjamin Britten’s opera Billy Budd; an exploration of his life and contribution to the University of Cambridge, particularly King’s College; and a very interesting conversation about the representation of Forster’s personal conflict within his writing.
To explore: Visit Herts. Fancy exploring some of Forster’s England yourself? The Hertfordshire tourism website, Visit Herts, has plenty of suggestions for days out and walks and cycles around the county. My personal favourite is the Garden City Greenway, a 13.6-mile route around the outskirts of Letchworth Garden City, a town in Hertfordshire.
That’s all for this month, see you next time! Happy reading!