RMSYL 12: The Woman in White (excerpt) by Wilkie Collins (read by Katy Darby)

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins (read by Katy Darby)Education.

Behind those four ceremonious syllables, a whole welter of thoughts and feelings about value, memory, interpersonal depth, and reading materials churn.

I can remember to this day with a kind of wincing shame privy only to those who have attempted to bat well above their natural aptitude, the comments of a Cambridge don made during one of our weekly tutorials. After the ceremonial read-aloud of my essay (for this tutor, it was often the first time he’d actually “read” my essay) I played some Verdi on a portable ghetto-blaster to bring something of an audio-flourish (I thought) to a point I’d been labouring over in the text.

Rousing himself from a posture of half-lidded, slumberous disinterest, Dr Casey finally turned to me and my tutorial partner and said, one-quarter-enquiry, three-quarters-appraisal : “You’re something of a sentimentalist, aren’t you Wasserman?”

One of these tutorials was on Wilkie Collins. It might as well have been on Pagan Virtues for all I care to recall or can now remember. And there’s the rub: the redeeming balm of amnesia.

And yet, I am absolutely certain that in 20 years’ time, were you to quiz me on this RMSYL “tutorial” with Katy Darby, I will remember the educative and illustrative details of our discussion with exemplary retrospection.

Now why is that?

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2 responses to “RMSYL 12: The Woman in White (excerpt) by Wilkie Collins (read by Katy Darby)

  1. I always feel sad that ‘sentimental’ is seen as such a negative quality and is so often used as a put down. I think it goes along with our general discomfit and negativity towards feeling anything. In so many ways we are discouraged from feeling – being labeled sentimental when we do try to express these feelings is yet another. Very sad.
    I want to celebrate what it was in Student Steve that got him to the point he chose a piece of music and went to the trouble of making that music available to his tutor and fellow student/s to match the piece of literature he was reading. Whatever that quality is would be best encouraged and applauded by any teacher. I think its very special.
    And the reading is fine! Thank you Kate for your carefully chosen extracts. I’ve not read the book but is definitely on my list to do so.

  2. Thank you for this, as ever, big-hearted comment Jen.

    Oh, and happy birthday (well, half an hour to go, but hey, still, happy birthday!)

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