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
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
La Famille Bélier is being touted as this year's Amelie - so why are many in the deaf community outraged by it?

Deaf community outraged by La Famille Bélier

The new film tells the story of a deaf-mute farming family and is being touted as this year's Amelie
Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

Homeless Veterans campaign

Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

Meet Racton Man

Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

Garden Bridge

St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

Joint Enterprise

The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

Freud and Eros

Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn