Lisa Jardine

Professor Lisa Jardine is an academic and broadcaster

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Education: The View From Here

When I used to present a late-night arts magazine programme for the BBC my producer would scrutinise my script with an eagle eye. She was not on the whole on the look-out for errors of fact or potential slanders. No, her vigilance was directed at my use of the English language. We both knew that a single inattentive "different to", or worse still "different than", where "different from" was strictly correct, a split infinitive or a dangling preposition, would bring bundles of mail in the days following transmission from any number of listeners whose sensibilities had been profoundly offended by my linguistic misdemeanour. In general I accepted this policing of my grammar with gratitude. I was less sure about her insistence that we be sure to avoid "Americanisms". I was supposed to go to the cinema, not to the movies, and not to praise or blame with terms like "cute" or "dumb". We (the BBC, I suppose), my producer, would explain, are the custodians of the English language; American is a lesser dialect.

Education: The View From Here

University classrooms these days are gender-free zones. At least in literature departments, it appears that neither we nor our students need any longer pay much attention to old-fashioned notions such as affirmative action, making space for women to speak, keeping men from dominating discussions, or giving women special encouragement to help them perform better in tests and examinations.

A week in books

Seamus Heaney is a fine figure of a man, large, rugged and bear- voiced, He also writes great poetry. But The Spirit Level - his first book of poems since he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1995 - lacks some of the grit and bite of the best of his earlier writing. Beryl Bainbridge is a woman of a certain age: on the podium at an awards ceremony she looks fragile and vulnerable. Every Man for Himself, her latest novel, is her finest in a distinguished writing career. Last Tuesday night, Heaney's slim volume narrowly beat Bainbridge's novel to win the Whitbread Book of the Year award. Why did Bainbridge lose?

Steamed up in a melting pot

Do clean shirts and cookbooks signal the decline of civilisation? Lisa Jardine thinks not

The View From Here

Colleges will, supposedly, admit any young person with a detectable pulse
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Day In a Page

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As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

Homeless Veterans appeal

The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

How books can defeat Isis

Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
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The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
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Young carers to make dance debut

What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

Design Council's 70th anniversary

Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch
Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Art should not be a slave to the ideas driving it

Critics of Tom Stoppard's new play seem to agree that cerebral can never trump character, says DJ Taylor
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Bill Granger's winter salads

Salads aren't just a bit on the side, says our chef - their crunch, colour and natural goodness are perfect for a midwinter pick-me-up
England vs Wales: Cool head George Ford ready to put out dragon fire

George Ford: Cool head ready to put out dragon fire

No 10’s calmness under pressure will be key for England in Cardiff
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Michael Calvin's Last Word

Time for Old Firm to put aside bigotry and forge new links