Melissa Benn

Melissa Ann Benn is a British journalist and writer. She is the author of ‘School Wars: The Battle for Britain’s Education’

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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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