Melissa Benn

Melissa Ann Benn is a British journalist and writer. A new edition of her ‘School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education’ will be published by Verso in November. Her next book, ‘What Should We Tell Our Daughters?’, will be published in 2013

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Book of a lifetime: Middlemarch, By George Eliot

I agree with Michael Gove about very little but we are at one on the greatness of Middlemarch, rightly described by Virginia Woolf as "a magnificent book that, with all its imperfections [is] one of the few English novels written for grown-up people". Originally published in part form, subtitled "A Study of Provincial Life", Middlemarch is a slow, unfolding story of the lives and loves of one Midlands town (thought to be Coventry), as well as a reflection on the bigger political issues and changes in mid-19th century England.

Leave things to the professionals, Mr Gove

The Education Secretary almost managed to make his climbdown on the EBC look like part of a bigger masterplan. Almost, but not quite

To vote or not to vote? At 16, children like my daughter are old enough to decide for themselves

Why do assume that as long as teenagers live with their parents, they have no civic responsibilities? We adults are more confused about this than our children

Wednesday book: A powerful voice of truth and reconciliation

Living in Hope and History: notes from our century

Wednesday Book: From feminism to womanism

SACRED COWS: IS FEMINISM RELEVANT TO THE NEW MILLENNIUM?

Books: Courage to go with the flow of a novel kind: The Whole Woman by Germaine Greer Doubleday, pounds 16.99, 352pp

Melissa Benn finds that the eternal feminist has cut loose from despair and set sail for Utopia

Historical Notes: From personal tragedy to new ways of living and old

MOTHERHOOD IS a theme that has, unsurprisingly, been tackled by some of the great feminists of the post- Enlightenment era. Several of these writers, such as Simone de Beauvoir and Germaine Greer, have written about the topic without being mothers themselves. This has lent their arguments an appealing sweep and didacticism but it has also placed more emphasis on rationality and free will than many mothers feel themselves to possess in real life.

Some things never change

Thirty years into feminism, and guess who's still doing the housework? Melissa Benn throws down her duster

Books: From lessay-fair to a coo-day-tar

Melissa Benn acclaims a narrative of one girl's search for the language that defeats despair

Thursday's book: Are You Somebody? Nuala O'Faolain

Rare is the book that you really cannot put down, the one that seems as necessary, poignant, impossible and joyful as life. This short work of memory and desire by one of Ireland's most prominent columnists is one of them.
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The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

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New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
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Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
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These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
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Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
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Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
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Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam