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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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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Animal Stories

Typical Cat!

When a cat comes into your life, resistance is futile.

Stories in Short

The Tale of Rip van Winkle

A hen-pecked, ne’er-do-well farmer from New York took off into the Catskill Mountains, and fell in with some very odd company.

Music and Musicians

The Free-Wheeler

Composer Ethel Smyth buys a new-fangled ladies’ bicycle, and scandalises the neighbours.

Kings and Queens of England

Anne to George III

A quick overview of the Kings and Queens of England from Queen Anne in 1702 to George III in 1760.

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Selected Authors

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Who Can Refute a Sneer?

My Heart’s Right There

Sublime Christian Heroism

The Petition of the Candlemakers

The Royal Oak

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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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Tales about the cradle of Western civilisation, from Socrates and the first democracies to the fall of the Roman Empire, the Ottoman yoke, and Britain’s part in the fight for independence.

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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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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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Stories from the ancient and mighty civilisation of India, from classical mythology to the Mughal Emperors, the East India Company and the British Raj.

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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.

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