John Simkin Posted January 14, 2004 Share Posted January 14, 2004 I recently wrote on the forum about my contacts with the last surviving relative of Robert Tressell. http://educationforum.ipbhost.com/index.php?showtopic=203 It got me thinking about the novels students study at school. Is ‘The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist’ studied in schools? I would not argue that it was a great work of literature but it is a work of great social importance. It is claimed that it is the first truly working class novel. Although there were a great number of popular books about the lives of the working class published in the 19th century, this was the first book that came from the working class. Robert Tressell’s book is important for other reasons. It has been claimed that Tressell had more impact on people’s political opinions in Britain than the work of writers such as Karl Marx and William Morris. Alan Sillitoe has pointed out that the book was very popular with members of the armed forces during the Second World War and claims that it was “the book that won the 1945 election for Labour.” Is it still true that schools are guilty of ignoring working class culture? I would also be interested in reading the views of people from other countries. Do educational institutions study the literature of all its citizens? Or are we really only interested in the writings of an intellectual elite? Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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