Education: Your views: Eng Lit: a history lesson

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I am intrigued by Robert Eaglestone's description of the 19th century novel as "reflecting a 'golden age' of England".

Our Mutual Friend, recently televised, opens with a man fishing for corpses in the river Thames; there are so many suicides that he is able to make a living scavenging for their remains.

Dickens's novel deals with the evils of poverty and the insidious power of money, which corrupts and enslaves those who have too little, or too much.

The characters may wear the fashions of yesteryear, but surely classics are classics because they deal with fundamental human concerns such as love, death, hope, despair, corruption, honesty, greed, generosity, duplicity and integrity. And they deal with them memorably and enjoyably.

A "golden age" not of England but of the English novel - yes, I would agree with that.