And this morning, on 'Start the Week', Jeanette Winterson, in discussing the poetry of George Herbert with Andrew Marr, made a similar appeal:
"One of the things that fiction does is only really the sort of questions that Herbert was exploring, about how you find your own voice – what’s the difference between personal conviction and authority in the world? Is it your story or is it a public story? – all of that navigation between private lives and public worlds which the novel is so good at – and how you deal with moral dilemmas because no two situations are alike .... when each situation presents itself differently, where am I in this as a moral being rather than just saying here are the rules and I will stick by them? ...
In creative work it’s always trying to keep us conscious and at a high level .... I wish we could drag Michael Gove in here and stop this whole utilitarian aspect of education ... let’s have an education which is not about utility but which is about allowing people to be human beings in all that glory and difficulty – otherwise we’re back to Engels looking round at the slums of Manchester and saying this is what happens when men regard each other only as useful objects .... we are looking at the market and what’s happened before the market and after the market becomes this golden calf in the wilderness where everyone has to buy and sell ..."
You can listen again to this programme.
If you don't already know Jeanette's website, do visit and read her commentary on Ted Hughes' poetry:
Creative endeavour seems to move us forward together with humility and morality. Creativity enlarges who we are. There is arrogance, trickery and irony about those who champion free speech while belittling and branding as treacherous the voices of experienced teachers. We should spring forward not fall back.
NWP outreach director