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?

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On This Day

Friday April 12 ns March 30 os

April 12, 1638

The Shimabara Rebellion ends (1)

The Shimabara Rebellion

Forty thousand men, women and children, the last survivors of Japans’s persecuted Christian population, took refuge without earthly hope in a seaside castle.

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International Relations

A Credit to His Country

The diplomat’s task is to see the best in other peoples, not to scold them for their failings.

Lives of the Saints

The Synod of Whitby

In 664, a council at Whitby decided to align the traditions of the Northumbrian Church with those of Rome and Constantinople.

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Character and Conduct

The Absent Minded Conquerors

Sir John Seeley urged us to cherish our close ties to India and other nations beyond Europe.

Greek and Roman Myths

Heracles at the Crossroads

The gods had given Heracles every grace of body and mind, but there was one thing he must do for himself: choose how to use them.

Poets and Poetry

King Arthur’s Last Request

The legendary British warrior makes ready for his final journey, leaving Sir Bedivere with one last duty to perform.

Indian History

‘A City Greater than London’

In 1585, English merchant Ralph Fitch found himself at the heart of Mughal India, as a guest at the court of Emperor Akbar the Great.

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Selected Authors

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The Decencies of Debate

The Charge of the Light Brigade

Trunk and Disorderly

How I Learnt to Write

The Tale of Robert Tomson

Lover’s Leap

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Selected Topics

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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.

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Stories from our cousins in the East, from Rurik the Viking and the Baptism of Rus’ to trade with Ivan the Terrible, a visit from Peter the Great, and the last Emperor.

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Sport and Sportsmen

Stories from the world of cricket, football and other sports, and the men and women who have played them.

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Animal Stories

Fables and true tales about animals, including a dog who regularly commuted to Matlock, a horse who didn’t approve of bad language, and a cat who saved her owners from an earthquake.

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Classical History

Tales of tragedy, ambition and heroism from the Battle of Marathon and Hannibal’s passage of the Alps to Caesar’s fateful crossing of the Rubicon.

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Poets and Poetry

Passages from English verse, from Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf to Shakespeare’s sonnets, Tennyson’s Charge of the Light Brigade, Kipling’s If and many more.

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