The Copy Book

Readings in history, society and literature

The Copy Book

Readings in history, society and literature
Lit. & Phil. Library, Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Photo by Michael D. Beckwith. Public domain image.
Clay Lane
The Copy Book Inspired by the anthologies of NL Clay

Passages for reading. Read them out aloud. Paraphrase or précis them. Discuss them with friends. Does anything surprise or impress you? How does the author work your feelings? Would you use his words? How would you direct the scene in a movie — and who would your stars be?

More …

Recently Added

See all

Extracts from Fiction

Robinson Crusoe Goes to Sea

Hours after running away to sea, Robinson Crusoe was sorry he ever left home.

Foreign Views of England

A Day in Georgian London

A foreign tourist writes home with an account of a day in the life of a typical London gentleman.

From the Archive

See all

Indian History

The Great Bengal Famine

The Governor of Bengal accused the East India Company of turning a crisis into a humanitarian catastrophe.

History of Australia

An Ideal Location

Many of Australia’s first cities were planned by British bureaucrats who had never been there, which may explain why they put them in the wrong places.

Indian History

Engines of Progress

Sir Bartle Frere, Governor of Bombay, shared his excitement at the way railways were making Indians more independent.

Classical History

Fiddling While Rome Burns

In 64, Nero watched on with fascination as Rome was consumed by fire — the Emperor’s idea of performance art.

See All Posts (1511)

Selected Authors

See all

Losing Steam

The Empire of Enterprise

Much Cry but Little Wool

Fricassée in France

The Brighteners of Cricket

The Fact-Lovers

See all Posts by Author

Selected Topics

See all

International Relations

Britain has always demanded respect, open seas, and to be left in peace to ‘work out our own salvation’ — a courtesy we should extend to others.

See all (39)

Discovery and Invention

Tales of scientific innovation and merchant enterprise, from steam power and life-saving medicines to new trade partners far away, and new ways to reach them.

See all (115)

Myths and Legends

Stories of wisdom, wonder and imagination from the Fables of Aesop and the epics of Homer to the folklore of India, Japan, Russia and Britain.

See all (120)

Character and Conduct

Stories illustrating noble deeds in matters both great and small, such as the noble gesture of Sir Philip Sidney, and the determination of Benjamin Disraeli.

See all (105)

Bible and Saints

Tales from the Bible, including the parables of Jesus and the story of Esther, and miracles from the lives of saints, such as our own Cuthbert the Wonderworker.

See all (210)

Free Speech and Conscience

Passages defending the right and obligation of every citizen to judge whatever is good and true, and to talk back to those who govern him.

See all (23)

See All Topics (A-Z)