The Word On...Alan Bennett

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The Independent Culture

Bennett's gift, and his reasons for it, draw attention to the indisputable fact that for millions of ordinary British people in the years between 1945 and 1980, state power was an overwhelmingly benign force... Those who set out in the late 1970s to trash that welfare state... and to disparage its motives and its outcomes had their reasons, of course. But theirs was never the only story about the evolution of post-war Britain. Joyce Macmillan ( news.scotsman.com/comment )

Bennett's gift, and his reasons for it, draw attention to the indisputable fact that for millions of ordinary British people in the years between 1945 and 1980, state power was an overwhelmingly benign force... Those who set out in the late 1970s to trash that welfare state... and to disparage its motives and its outcomes had their reasons, of course. But theirs was never the only story about the evolution of post-war Britain.

Joyce Macmillan ( news.scotsman.com/comment )

That Alan Bennett is to donate his entire archive... to Oxford's Bodleian Library for free isn't just an extraordinarily generous and practical gesture, but also surely an instructive and chastening example for authors and estates looking to cash in on interest in their work... Bennett's gift... is magnificent proof of a different way of doing things. And as well as providing a wonderful legacy to the library, it will put the seal on his own reputation.

Mark Shenton ( blogs.thestage.co.uk )

Much of the archive is hand-written, which, according to him, 'seems to delight the archivists, but it's always dismayed me'. Characteristically, [Bennett] is treating the gift as an obligation repaid. He says: 'I say with some pride that I had a state education: school, university. None of it cost me or my parents a penny.'

Razia Iqbal ( bbc.co.uk/blogs )

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