Obituary: Martin Fagg

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The Independent Online
AS WELL as his unique achievements in literary competitions, Martin Fagg was a brilliant, inspiring English teacher, writes James Pettifer (further to the obituary by Paul Griffin, 25 August).

As head of department at King's School, Worcester, in the late 1960s, he brought verve, colour and vast energy into an environment that had a good deal in common with Trollope's Barsetshire and the late 19th century around Worcester Cathedral and its school. With his sharp suits, brilliantly coloured kipper ties fresh from the King's Road and wide-brimmed black hat set at a rakish angle, Martin seemed like a figure from outer space as he hurried about his work among the elderly canons and ex-colonial servants around College Green.

He brought a vast, encyclopaedic knowledge of English literature to the classroom, and a fascination with the process of literary creation that inspired even the most unpromising pupils. He made the tradition seem living, and nothing pleased him more on a hot summer afternoon than to set his pupils some parody competition that would enable them to discover something of a great author's methods.

But he found Worcester provincial and unwelcoming, and he left, too soon. And he had no time for the stranglehold that politically 'correct' literary theory was placing on literature teachers and writers. He was a real Sixties man, like Joe Orton: literature was energy, subversion, anarchy.