OBITUARY: Terence Barnes

Terence Barnes lived for literature. He was for 40 years master of English at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury, latterly as Head of Department, and through his publications his audience extended well beyond the classroom.

He contributed many reviews and articles to the literary journal Scrutiny (founded by F.R. Leavis, a friend from Barnes's Cambridge days) and later to the Use of English, founded by a former Scrutiny editor as a source of ideas for fellow schoolteachers. He wrote a lively critique of "Shaw and the London Theatre" for The New Pelican Guide to English Literature (1961). His principal work was English Verse, Voice and Movement from Wyatt to Yeats (1967). Coming out near the end of his career, it is a summary of much of his sixth-form teaching. Through clear, perceptive commentaries and representative texts, Barnes brings out the distinctive qualities of the leading poets from the 16th to the 20th centuries.

For the general reader, Poetry Appreciation: thirteen modern poems discussed (1968) provides a delightful tutorial on modern poetry. Like so much of what Barnes said and wrote, it seeks to convince that we must make a serious effort to understand the writer's craft if we are to get the pleasure that is intended for us.

Born in Happisburgh, Norfolk, son of the village schoolmaster, Barnes was educated at Paston Grammar School, North Walsham. From there he took an exhibition at King's College, Cambridge, where he read the English Tripos Part I and the French section of the Modern Languages Tripos Part II, an unusual combination at that time.

He thought briefly about a career as a theatre director. In his Cambridge vacations he had acted in productions at the Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, under the direction of its founder Nugent Monk. Instead, he completed a postgraduate teaching diploma and in 1929 left East Anglia for the South- West, where he took up an appointment at Bishop Wordsworth's. Beginning as an assistant master, he later became head of English, and remained at the school, with a break for Second World War service, for more than 40 years.

Barnes's teaching style was somewhat old-fashioned, being mostly monologue, but his classes were lively affairs. An inspector of English, sitting in, was struck by the enthusiasm of the students. She asked whether they were studying the particular work for fun or for an examination. Barnes replied, "We try to do both here."

For relaxation Terence Barnes enjoyed the piano, taking lessons into his eighties. He was also no mean fly fisherman and made his own flies. For him, access to the Avon behind the cathedral was not the least of the benefits of living in Salisbury.

Stephen Quigley

Terence Robert Barnes, schoolmaster: born Happisburgh, Norfolk 22 December 1906; English Master and later Senior English Master at Bishop Wordsworth's School, Salisbury 1928-41, 1944-72; MBE 1945; married; died Salisbury, Wiltshire 15 March 1995.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones
Theme parks continue to draw in thrill-seekers despite the risks - so why are we so addicted?

Why are we addicted to theme parks?

Now that Banksy has unveiled his own dystopian version, Christopher Beanland considers the ups and downs of our endless quest for amusement
Tourism in Iran: The country will soon be opening up again after years of isolation

Iran is opening up again to tourists

After years of isolation, Iran is reopening its embassies abroad. Soon, there'll be the chance for the adventurous to holiday there
10 best PS4 games

10 best PS4 games

Can’t wait for the new round of blockbusters due out this autumn? We played through last year’s offering
Transfer window: Ten things we learnt

Ten things we learnt from the transfer window

Record-breaking spending shows FFP restraint no longer applies
Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent