We’re taking a trip to England

Join us, by proxy!  Here’s one of our classes, and some of what we’ll be reading, hearing and seeing:



Objective: the purpose of this class is to immerse students, teachers and standers-by alike in some of the events and expressions and experiences that have made the UK what it is today. And what is that? We may not be too concerned with finding a definitive answer to that question. There are lots of theories and positions, most with value and validity. But since we’re here for only a short time, and since we’ll have a lifetime of melancholic post-London years for sorting things out, for now we just want to read and run, and rest as little as possible.

Methodology: here’s how we’ll go about it. Everyone signs up to read five (5) books. Everyone signs up to visit seven London sites. Everyone reports everyone’s findings to everyone else. Everyone else gets enthused and ends up reading and visiting what everyone else read and visited. Then we go home.

Reading list: students will pick one book (non-fiction, play, novel, collection of poems, etc.) from five of the following six groups. Please note that sort of representative/rather random musical and cinematic titles are also included, for orientation and information’s sake. A few similarly wayward importantevents are also listed.


Group One—Foundations

Defoe, Daniel, Journal of the Plague Year (1722)

Swift, Jonathan: Gulliver’s Travels (1726)

Fielding, Henry, Tom Thumb (1730)

Johnson, Samuel, Rasselas (1759)

Goldsmith, Oliver, She Stoops to Conquer (1773)

Wollstonecraft, Mary, Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792)

Wordsworth and Coleridge, Lyrical Ballads, 1800 [2nd,] ed.)

Scott, Walter, The Lay of the Last Minstrel (1805)

Lamb, Charles and Mary, Tales from Shakespeare (1807)

Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice/ Persuasion (1813/1818)

Shelley, Mary, Frankenstein (1818)

Hogg, James, The Private Memoirs and Confessions of a Justified Sinner (1824)

Dickens, Charles, Oliver Twist (1837-8)

Darwin, Charles, Voyage of the Beagle (1839)

Carlyle, Thomas, On Heroes (1841)

Engels, Friedrich, The Conditions of the Working Class in England (1844)

Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre (1847)

Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights (1847)

Marx, Karl, and Engels, Friedrich, The Communist Manifesto (1848)

Trollope, Anthony, The Warden (1855)

Mill, John Stuart, On Liberty/ Utilitarianism (1859/1863)

Eliot, George, Silas Marner (1861)

Kingsley, Charles, The Water Babies (1863)

Queen Victoria, Highland Journal (1868)

Arnold, Matthew, Culture and Anarchy (1869)

Carroll, Lewis, Through the Looking Glass (1871)

MacDonald, George: At the Back of the North Wind /The Princess and the Goblin (1871/1872)

Pater, Walter, Studies in the Renaissance (1873)

Sewell, Anna: Black Beauty (1877)

Gilbert, W.S. and Sullivan, Arthur, HMS Pinafore/The Mikado (1878/1885)

Stevenson, Robert Louis, The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde/ Kidnapped (1886/1886)

Conan Doyle, Arthur, A Study in Scarlet (1887)

Hardy, Thomas, Wessex Tales/Tess of the D’urbevilles (1888/1891)

Morris, William, News From Nowhere (1890)

Wilde, Oscar, The Picture of Dorian Gray/Lady Windermere’s Fan/An Ideal Husband/The Importance of Being Earnest (1891/1892/1895/1895)

Pinero, Arthur, The Second Mrs. Tanqueray (1893)

Yeats, William Butler, The Celtic Twilight (1893)

Jacobs, Joseph, English Fairy Tales (1894)

Kipling, Rudyard, The Jungle Book (1894)

Shaw, G.B., Arms and the Man (1894)

Grahame, Kenneth, The Golden Age (1895)

Wells, H.G., The Time Machine(1895)

Kipling, Rudyard, Stalky and Co. (1899)


Group Two—The Edwardian Era and the First World War

The Zeroes:

Elgar, Edward, Enigma Variations (1900)

Wells, H.G., Love and Mr. Lewisham (1900)

Kipling, Rudyard, Kim /Just So Stories (1901, 1902)

Barrie, J.M., The Admirable Crichton/Peter Pan (1902/1904)

Brown, George Douglas, The House with the Green Shutters (1902)

Shaw, G.B., Mrs. Warren’s Profession/Major Barbara/Pygmalion (1902/1905/1912)

Yeats, W.B., Cathleen ni Houlihan/Dierdre (1902/1907)

Death of Queen Victoria

Boer War ends

London, Jack, People of the Abyss (1903)

Gregory, Lady, The Spreading of the News/Kincora and the White Cockade (1904/1905)

Abbey Theatre founded

Sinn Fein party founded in Dublin

Synge, J.M., Riders to the Sea/The Playboy of the Western World (1904/1907)

Granville-Barker, Harley, The Voysey Inheritance (1905)

Munro, Neil, The Vital Spark (1906)

Nesbit, E., The Railway Children (1906)

Everyman’s Library begun

Conrad, Joseph, The Secret Agent (1907)

Boy Scouts founded

Chesterton, G.K., The Man Who Was Thursday (1908)

Forster, E.M., A Room With a View, Howard’s End (1908/1910)

Ross, Martin, and Somerville, Edith, The Further Experiences of an Irish RM (1908)

Strife, John Galsworthy (1909)

Girl Guides founded


The Teens:

Barrie, J.M., Peter Pan (1911)

Burnette, Frances Hodgson, The Secret Garden (1911)

Lloyd George introduces National Health Insurance bill

Suffragette riots in Whitehall

Bentley, E.C., Trent’s Last Case (1912)

Houghton, Stanley, Hindle Wakes (1912)

Sowerby, Githa, Rutherford and Son (1912)

Commons reject franchise bill

Sinking of the Titanic

Lawrence, D.H., Sons and Lovers (1913)

Joyce, James, Dubliners (1914)

Vaughan-Williams, Ralph, The Lark Ascending (1914)

Break-out of WWI

Buchan, John, The Thirty-Nine Steps, Greenmantle (1915/1916)

Holst, Gustav, The Planets (1915)

Brighouse, Harold, Hobson’s Choice (1916)

Easter Rebellion

Balfour declaration (1917)

Brooke, Rupert, Collected Poems (1918)

Strachey, Lytton, Eminent Victorians (1918)


Vote extended to women 30 years and older

Elgar, Edward, Cello Concerto (1919)

Maugham, W. Somerset, The Moon and Sixpence (1919)

Sassoon, Siegfried, War Poems (1919)

Lady Astor is first female Member of Parliament


Group Three—In-Between

The Twenties:

Christie, Agatha, The Mysterious Affair at Styles (1920)

League of Nations founded

Maugham, W. Somerset, The Circle/The Constant Wife (1921/1927)

BBC established

Irish Free State established

Eliot, T.S., The Waste Land and Other Poems (1917-1922)

Forster, E.M., A Passage to India (1924)

Wodehouse, P.G., The Inimitable Jeeves (1924)

First Labour government

O’Casey, Sean, Juno and the Paycock/ The Plough and the Stars (1924/1925)

Coward, Noel, Hay Fever/Private Lives (1925/1930)

Woolf, Virginia, Mrs. Dalloway/To the Lighthouse/A Room of One’s Own (1925/1927/1929)

Hitchcock, Alfred, The Lodger/Blackmail (1926/1929)

Lawrence, D.H., The Widowing of Mrs. Holroyd, 1926)

McDiarmid, Hugh, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle (1926)

General Strike

John Logie Baird Television demonstrated

Milne, A.A., Winnie-the-Pooh/The House on Pooh Corner (1926, 1928)

Lonsdale, Frederick, On Approval (1927)

Waugh, Evelyn, Decline and Fall (1928)

Hughes, Richard, A High Wind in Jamaica (1928)

Suffrage for women 21 one years and up

Graves, Robert, Goodbye to All That (1929)

Green, Henry, Living (1929)

Grierson, John, Drifters (1929)

The Thirties:

Bridie, James, The Anatomist (1930)

Auden, W.H., Poems

Grassic Gibbon, Lewis, Sunset Song (1932)

Huxley, Aldous, Brave New World (1932)

Compton-Burnett, Ivy, More Women than Men (1933)

Korda, Alexander et al, The Private Life of King Henry VIII/ Rembrandt/The Four Feathers (1933/1937/1939)

Orwell, George, Down and Out in Paris and London/The Road to Wigan Pier (1933, 1937)

Fields, Gracie, Sing as We Go! (1934)

Gow, Ronald and Greenwood, Walter, Love on the Dole (1934)

Hilton, James, Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1934)

Priestley, J.B., English Journey (1934)

Sayers, Dorothy, The Nine Tailors (1934)

Travers, P.L.: Mary Poppins (1934)

Hitchcock, Alfred, The Man Who Knew Too Much/The Thirty-Nine Steps/Sabotage/The Lady Vanishes (1934/1935/1936/1938)

Bagnold, Enid, National Velvet (1935)

Eliot, T.S., Murder in the Cathedral (1935)

Muir, Edwin, Scott and Scotland (1936)

Abdication of Edward VIII

Allen Lane founds Penguin Books

Gunn, Neil, Highland River (1937)

Hay, Will, Oh, Mr. Porter! (1937)

Tolkein, J.R.R.: The Hobbit (1937)

du Maurier, Daphne, Rebecca (1938)

Greene, Graham, Brighton Rock (1938)

Hamilton, Patrick, Gaslight (1938)

White, T.H.: The Sword in the Stone (1938)

Williams, Emlyn, The Corn is Green (1938)

Godden, Rumer, Black Narcissus (1939)

Household, Geoffrey, Rogue Male (1939)

Isherwood, Christopher, Goodbye to Berlin (1939)

Powell, Michael, and Pressburger, Emeric, The Spy in Black/Contraband/ The Forty-Ninth Parallel/The Life and Death of Col. Blimp/A Canterbury Tale/I Know Where I’m Going/A Matter of Life and Death/Black Narcissus/The Red Shoes (1939/1940/1941/1943/1944/ 1945/1946/1947/1948)

Reed, Carol, The Stars Look Down (1939)


Group Four—The Second War and the End of Empire

The Forties:

Day-Lewis, Cecil, Poems in Wartime (1940)

Koestler, Arthur, Darkness at Noon (1940)

Thomas, Dylan, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog (1940)

Battle of Britain

Watt, Harry, Target for Tonight (1941)

Jennings, Humphrey, Listen to Britain/Fires Were Started/A Diary for Timothy (1942/ 1943/1945)

Lean, David and Coward, Noel, In Which We Serve/This Happy Breed/Brief Encounter (1942/1944/1945)

Lewis, C.S., The Screwtape Letters (1942)

Markham, Beryl, West with the Night (1942)

Gilliat, Sydney and Launder, Frank, Millions Like Us (1943)

Olivier, Laurence, Henry V/Hamlet (1944/1948)

Boulting, John and Roy, Desert Victory (1945)

Britten, Benjamin, Peter Grimes (1945)

Calvalcanti, Alberto et al, Dead of Night (1945)

Green, F.C., Odd Man Out, (1945)

WWII ends

Clement Atlee forms Labour government

Lean, David, Great Expectations/Oliver Twist (1946/1948)

Peake, Mervyn, Titus Groan (1946)

Priestley, J.B., An Inspector Calls (1946)

Rattigan, Terence, The Winslow Boy/The Browning Version (1946/1948)

Stewart, Ena Lamont, Men Should Weep (1946)

Larkin, Philip, A Girl in Winter (1947)

Mackenzie, Compton, Whiskey Galore (1947)

Indian independence

Reed, Carol, The Fallen Idol/The Third Man (1948/1949)

End of Britain’s Palestine mandate

Mackendrick, Alexander, Whiskey Galore/The Man in the White Suit/The Maggie/The Ladykillers (1949/1951/1954/1955)

Iron and steel industries nationalized

Eire recognized; Northern Ireland’s place in the UK reaffirmed

The Fifties:

Lewis, C.S., The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950)

Greene, Graham, The End of the Affair (1951)

Christie, Agatha, The Mousetrap (1952)

Norton, Mary, The Borrowers (1952)

Beckett, Samuel, Waiting for Godot/End Game/Krapp’s Last Tape/Happy Days (1953/ 1957/1958/1961)

Fleming, Ian, Casino Royale (1953)

Hartley, L.P., The Go-Between (1953)

Wilson, Sandy, The Boyfriend (1953)

Coronation of Elizabeth II

Amis, Kingsley, Lucky Jim (1954)

Golding, William, The Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors (1954/1955)

Thomas, Dylan, Under Milk Wood (1954)

Moore, Brian, The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1955)

Osborn, John, Look Back in Anger/The Entertainer (1956/1957)

Suez crisis

Braine, John, Room at the Top (1957)

Wyndham, John, The Midwich Cuckoos (1957)

Behan, Brendan, The Hostage (1958)

Delaney, Shelagh, A Taste of Honey (1958)

Fisher, Terence, The Horror of Dracula (1958)

Hoggart, Richard, The Uses of Literacy (1958)

Murdoch, Iris, The Bell (1958)

Pearce, Phillipa, Tom’s Midnight Garden (1958)

Pinter, Harold, The Birthday Party (1958)

Silitoe, Alan, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning/The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1958/1959)

Sutcliff, Rosemary: Warrior Scarlet (1958)

Clayton, Jack, Room at the Top (1959)

MacInnes, Colin, Absolute Beginners (1959)

Opie, Iona and Peter, The Lore and Language of Schoolchildren (1959)

Waterhouse, Kieth, Billy Liar (1959)


Group Five—Swinging and Post-Swinging

The Sixties:

Bart, Lionel, Oliver! (1960)

Bolt, Robert, A Man for All Seasons (1960)

Powell, Michael, Peeping Tom (1960)

Naughton, Bill, Alfie (1960)

Storey, David, This Sporting Life (1960)

Dearden, Basil, Victim (1961)

Prebble, John, Culloden/Glencoe (1961/1966)

Spark, Muriel, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1961)

Britten, Benjamin, War Requiem (1962)

Burgess, Anthony, A Clockwork Orange (1962)

Chilton, Charles, Oh! What a Lovely War (1963)

Le Carré, John, The Spy Who Came in from the Cold (1963)

Losey, Joseph, The Servant/The Accident (1963/1967)

Richardson, Tony, Tom Jones (1963)

Lester, Richard, A Hard Day’s Night (1964)

Mortimer, Penelope, The Pumpkin Eater (1964)

Beatles, Rubber Soul/Revolver/Sgt. Pepper’s…/The White Album/Abbey Road (1965/1966/1967/1968/1969)

Orton, Joe, Loot (1965)

Watkins, Peter, The War Game (1965)

Grierson, John, Grierson on Documentary (1966)

Kinks, Face to Face/Something Else/Are the Village Green Preservation Society/ Arthur/Lola vs. Powerman and the Moneygoround/Muswell Hillbillies (1966/1967/1968/1969/1970/1971)

Loach, Ken, Cathy Come Home/Kes (1966/1969)

Rhys, Jean, The Wide Sargasso Sea (1966)

Rolling Stones, Aftermath/Beggars’ Banquet/Let it Bleed/Sticky Fingers/Exile on Main Street (1966/1968/1969/1971/1972)

Thompsen, E.P., The Making of the English Working Class (1966)

England wins World Cup

Brown, George Mackay, Calendar of Love/Magnus (1967/1972)

Garner, Alan, The Owl Service (1967)

Nichols, Peter, A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (1967)

Stoppard, Tom, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead/Travesties (1967/1974)

Who, the, The Who Sell Out, Tommy, Live at Leeds, Who’s Next, Quadrophenia (1967/1969/1970?1971/ 1973)

Anderson, Lindsay, If… (1968)

Hamilton, Richard, Swinging London (1968)

Hines, Barry, A Kestrel for a Knave (1968)

Hughes, Ted, The Iron Man (1968)

End of theatre censorship in Britain

Booker Prize established

Monty Python’s Flying Circus launched (1969-1974)

Rupert Murdoch buys The Sun

The Seventies:

Hughes, Ted, Crow (1970)

Priestley, J.B., The Edwardians (1970)

Shaffer, Anthony, Sleuth (1970)

Beatles break up

Greer, Germaine, The Female Eunuch (1971)

Naipaul, V.S., In a Free State (1971)

Roeg, Nicholas, Walkabout (1971)

Adams, Richard, Watership Down (1972)

Ayckbourn, Alan, Absurd Person Singular/The Norman Conquests/Absent Friends/Bedroom Farce (1972/1973/ 1974/ 1975)

Bowie, David, The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars/Hunky Dory/Aladdin Sane (1972/1972/1973)

Herriot, James, All Creatures Great and Small (1972)

Direct rule in Northern Ireland

Tutankhamen exhibition at British Museum

UK joins EEC

McGrath, John, The Cheviot, the Stag, and the Black, Black Oil (1973)

Jones, Terry, et al, Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1974)

Berkoff, Steven, East (1975)

Jhabvala, Ruth Prawer, Heat and Dust (1975)

Le Carré, John, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1975)

Sussex, Elizabeth, The Rise and Fall of the British Documentary Film Movement (1975)

First British North Sea oil

Clash, The Clash/London Calling (1977/1979)

Leigh, Mike, Abigail’s Party (1977)

McIlvanney, Wiliam, Laidlaw (1977)

Pym, Barbara, Quartet in Autumn (1977)

Sex Pistols, Never Mind the Bollocks, Here’s the Sex Pistols (1977)

Hare, David, Plenty (1978)

Norris, Leslie, Sliding (1978)

Rice, Tim and Lloyd-Weber, Andrew, Evita (1978)

Pinter, Harold, Betrayal (1978)

Potter, Dennis, Pennies from Heaven (1978)

Attenborough, David, Life on Earth (1979)

Carter, Angela, The Bloody Chamber (1979)

Churchill, Caryl, Cloud 9/Top Girls (1979/1982)

Shaffer, Peter, Amadeus (1979)

Sherman, Martin, Bent (1979)

Margaret Thatcher elected


Group Six—Thatcher and Labour and everything

The Eighties:

Edgar, David, Nicholas Nickleby (1980)

Harwood, Ronald, The Dresser (1980)

Joy Division, Closer (1980)

Mackenzie, John, The Long Good Friday (1980)

Motorhead, Ace of Spades (1980)

Reid, Lynne Banks, An Indian in the Cupboard (1981)

Rushdie, Salman, Midnight’s Children (1981)

Rupert Murdoch buys the Times

Forsyth, Bill, Gregory’s Girl/Local Hero (1981/1983)

Frayn, Michael, Noises Off (1982)

Roxy Music, Avalon (1982)

Falklands War

New Order, Power, Corruption and Lies (1983)

Lean, David, A Passage to India (1984)

The Jewel in the Crown (1984)

Prince Charles criticizes Modern Architecture

Apted, Michael, 28 Up/35 Up/42 Up (1985/1992/1999)

Hampton, Christopher, Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985)

The Pogues, Rum, Sodomy & the Lash (1985)

The Smiths, The Queen is Dead (1986)

The Cure, Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me (1987)

McGuiness, Frank, Observe the Sons of Ulster… (1987)

Jacques, Brian, Redwall (1987)

Crichton, Charles, A Fish Called Wanda (1988)

Davies, Terence, Distant Voices, Still Lives (1988)

Frears, Stephen, Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

Norris, Leslie, The Girl From Cardigan (1988)

Pratchett, Terry, Wyrd Sisters (1988)

Branagh, Kenneth, Henry V (1989)

Ishiguro, Kazuo, Remains of the Day (1989)

Le Carré, John, The Russia House (1989)

Sheridan, Jim, My Left Foot (1989)

Woo, John, The Killer (1989)

The Nineties:

Byatt, A.S., Possession (1990)

Craig, David, On the Crofter’s Trail (1990)

Bennett, Alan, The Madness of King George III/Talking Heads (1991/1992)

Pratchett, Terry, Reaper Man (1991)

Rushdie, Salman: Haroun and the Sea of Stories (1991)

Hornby, Nick, Fever Pitch (1992)

Jordan, Neil, The Crying Game (1992)

Morton, Andrew, Diana: Her True Story (1992)

Ondaatje, Michael, The English Patient (1992)

Hare, David, Racing Demon, Murmuring Judges, The Absence of War (1990/1991/ 1993)

Blur, Parklife (1994)

Brown, George MacKay, Beside the Ocean of Time (1994)

Kelman, James, How Late it Was, How Late (1994)

Shields, Carol, The Stone Diaries (1994)

Doyle, Roddy, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (1995)

PJ Harvey, To Bring You My Love (1995)

Kane, Sarah, Blasted (1995)

Boyle, Danny, Trainspotting (1996)

Leigh, Mike, Secrets and Lies (1996)

Pullman, Philip, Northern Lights/The Subtle Knife/The Amber Spyglass (1995/1997/2000)

Von Trier, Lars, Breaking the Waves (1996)

Roy, Arundhati, The God of Small Things (1997)

Frayn, Michael, Copenhagen (1998)

Pulp, This is Hardcore (1998)


Sites: as threatened, here are several dozens of worthwhile London places or events. Class members will be assigned to officially visit and make a report on one per week. Program members will be invited and encouraged to see as many of them as humanly possible.

Barbican Theatre

Battersea Park

Berwick St. Market

Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood

British Library

British Museum

Buckingham Palace

Camden Lock Market

Charing Cross Road

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Old Church

Chelsea Physic Garden

Commonwealth Institute

Covent Garden Market

Cutty Sark

Design Museum

Dickens House Museum

Dr. Johnson’s House

Duke of York Theatre

FA Cup

Fenton House

Florence Nightingale Museum

Garrick Theatre

Globe Theatre

Goethe Institute

Greenwich Park


Hayward Gallery


Holland Park

Imperial War Museum

Institute Française

Kensington Gardens

Kew Gardens


London Aquarium

London Toy and Model Museum

London Transport MuseumMuseum of Garden History

Museum of London

National Film Theatre

National Gallery

National Maritime Museum

National Portrait Gallery

Natural History Museum

Palace Theatre


Pollock’s Toy Museum

Portobello Road Market

Queen’s Gallery

Regent’s Park

Royal Albert Hall

Royal National Theatre

Royal Opera House

Science Museum


Sir John Soane’s Museum

Southwark Cathedral

St. James Church

St. Martin’s in the Fields

St. Paul’s

St. Paul’s, Covent Garden

Tate Gallery

Tate Modern

Theatre Museum

Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Theatre Royal Haymarket

Tower of London

Victoria and Albert Museum

Wallace Collection


Westminster Abbey

Westminster Cathedral

William Morris Gallery




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: