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Scott led a highly active literary and social life during these years. In his volume edition of the works of John Dryden appeared, followed by his volume edition of Jonathan Swift and other works. But his finances now took the first of several disastrous turns that were to partly determine the course of his future career.

His appointment as sheriff depute of the county of Selkirk in a position he was to keep all his life was a welcome supplement to his income, as was his appointment in as clerk to the Court of Session in Edinburgh. But he had also become a partner in a printing and later publishing firm owned by James Ballantyne and his irresponsible brother John. By this firm was hovering on the brink of financial disaster, and although Scott saved the company from bankruptcy, from that time onward everything he wrote was done partly in order to make money and pay off the lasting debts he had incurred.

Another ruinous expenditure was the country house he was having built at Abbotsford, which he stocked with enormous quantities of antiquarian objects. In Scott rediscovered the unfinished manuscript of a novel he had started in , and in the early summer of he wrote with extraordinary speed almost the whole of his novel, which he titled Waverley. It was one of the rare and happy cases in literary history when something original and powerful was immediately recognized and enjoyed by a large public.

A story of the Jacobite rebellion of , it reinterpreted and presented with living force the manners and loyalties of a vanished Scottish Highland society. The book was published anonymously, as were all of the many novels he wrote down to First and foremost, he was a born storyteller who could place a large cast of vivid and varied characters in an exciting and turbulent historical setting.

1. An Inconvenient Truth

He was also a master of dialogue who felt equally at home with expressive Scottish regional speech and the polished courtesies of knights and aristocrats. His deep knowledge of Scottish history and society and his acute observation of its mores and attitudes enabled him to play the part of a social historian in insightful depictions of the whole range of Scottish society, from beggars and rustics to the middle classes and the professions and on up to the landowning nobility. His flair for picturesque incidents enabled him to describe with equal vigour both eccentric Highland personalities and the fierce political and religious conflicts that agitated Scotland during the 17th and 18th centuries.

Finally, Scott was the master of a rich, ornate, seemingly effortless literary style that blended energy with decorum , lyric beauty with clarity of description. Guy Mannering and The Antiquary completed a sort of trilogy covering the period from the s to just after The first of four series of novels published under the title Tales of My Landlord was composed of The Black Dwarf and the masterpiece Old Mortality It was only after writing these novels of Scottish history that Scott, driven by the state of his finances and the need to satisfy the public appetite for historical fiction that he himself had created, turned to themes from English history and elsewhere.

He thus wrote Ivanhoe , a novel set in 12th-century England and one that remains his most popular book. Two more masterpieces were Kenilworth , set in Elizabethan England, and the highly successful Quentin Durward , set in 15th-century France. The best of his later novels are Redgauntlet and The Talisman , the latter being set in Palestine during the Crusades.

In dealing with the recent past of his native country, Scott was able to find a fictional form in which to express the deep ambiguities of his own feeling for Scotland. He welcomed civilization, but he also longed for individual heroic action. It is this ambivalence that gives vigour, tension, and complexity of viewpoint to his best novels. Eager to own an estate and to act the part of a bountiful laird, he anticipated his income and involved himself in exceedingly complicated and ultimately disastrous financial agreements with his publisher, Archibald Constable , and his agents, the Ballantynes.

He and they met almost every new expense with bills discounted on work still to be done; these bills were basically just written promises to pay at a future date. Constable was unable to meet his liabilities and went bankrupt, and he in turn dragged down the Ballantynes and Scott in his wake because their financial interests were inextricably intermingled. Everyone paid tribute to the selfless honesty with which he set himself to work to pay all his huge debts.

Unfortunately, though, the corollary was reckless haste in the production of all his later books and compulsive work whose strain shortened his life. After the notable re-creation of the end of the Jacobite era in Redgauntlet , he produced nothing equal to his best early work, though his rapidity and ease of writing remained largely unimpaired, as did his popularity. In his health deteriorated sharply, and he tried a continental tour with a long stay at Naples to aid recovery.

He was taken home and died in Scott gathered the disparate strands of contemporary novel-writing techniques into his own hands and harnessed them to his deep interest in Scottish history and his knowledge of antiquarian lore. The technique of the omniscient narrator and the use of regional speech, localized settings, sophisticated character delineation, and romantic themes treated in a realistic manner were all combined by him into virtually a new literary form, the historical novel.

His influence on other European and American novelists was immediate and profound, and though interest in some of his books declined somewhat in the 20th century, his reputation remains secure. We welcome suggested improvements to any of our articles. You can make it easier for us to review and, hopefully, publish your contribution by keeping a few points in mind. Your contribution may be further edited by our staff, and its publication is subject to our final approval.

Unfortunately, our editorial approach may not be able to accommodate all contributions. Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. See Article History. Start your free trial today for unlimited access to Britannica.

Sidney Poitier shines as he plays E. Rick Braithwaite, the black teacher of a class of white streetwise, ruffian youngsters, seniors in an East End London secondary school. These kids are poorly fed, clothed and housed. Their knowledge of academic subjects may be low, but they do have a knowledge that equips them to survive where they live. It is after the Second World War, the s. The growing friendship, respect and trust between the kids and their teacher is one theme. The second and more important theme, particularly in the book, is racial and ethnic discrimination.

Neither his color nor his ethnicity was of importance during the war, but after they certainly were. Through this work the author is focusing attention on such hypocrisy and on racial and ethnic discrimination. He was born in Georgetown, British Guyana, in and died at the age of in ! The strength of this book lies in its message that the best means of fighting discrimination is through shared experiences between those who are different. Having a close friend of a skin color, religion or ethnic background different from you own teaches more than book learning can ever accomplish.

I liked that not only the kids grew wiser from their friendship with Braithwaite, but that also Braithwaite learned from his friendship with them. An interracial love affair carries the theme one step further. For much of the story the words of Braithwaite are formal, a bit stiff and detached. This loosens as one nears the end, when not only his students have warmed to him, but he too has come to feel great attachment for them. It is heartwarming when he begins to soften and melt.

It is at the same time realistic that he never turns into a gushing pulp of emotion. The reading is clear and strong and easy to follow. He intones the female characters less well. For me, the performance is worth four stars. It does not matter that it is of its time; it still speaks to us of today. It took me awhile to warm to it, but I did by the end. View all 25 comments. May 12, Stacy rated it it was amazing.

I loved this book; it made me cry. I have heard the movie is good too, but I have never seen it. View 2 comments. This may not be exactly the edition I read "back when". This is another book my girl friend from high school gets credit for me reading. In the heated racial atmosphere of the 60s and 70s this was a well read book and of course inspired a well known movie, whose theme became a hit song. Unlike a couple of romances I read more sticks with me from this book. The scenes of the teacher confronting the at first rowdy "youths" he is attempting to teach and the frankly for the time lewd actions of This may not be exactly the edition I read "back when".


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The scenes of the teacher confronting the at first rowdy "youths" he is attempting to teach and the frankly for the time lewd actions of some of them contrasts markedly from the people he's teaching by the end of the book. This isn't a bad read. I remember being moved by it though teens do seem to feel things more intensely the book still does a job of reaching out to the heart of the reader. View all 15 comments.

Published in , this book is probably best known as inspiring the film, of the same name. However, Braithwaite himself loathed the movie, made in ; although it certainly made his name. Having found his time in the war without prejudice, he was despondent by his life in a battered, grey, post-war London. Braithwaite is urbane, educated and yet, because of his colour, is unable to find work. One day, in a Published in , this book is probably best known as inspiring the film, of the same name.

One day, in a London park, he finds himself talking to an elderly man, who suggests he tries teaching. It is not the work that Braithwaite has trained for, but he needs — he wants — a job. So, he applies, expecting again to be rejected. However, to his surprise, Braithwaite finds himself offered a post in a secondary school, in a poor area of East London.

The Headmaster believes in offering his children support and care — not censure or discipline. At first, Braithwaite is wary of the young people in the class he is assigned to. He feels that they are undeserving of his sympathy — they are, after all, white. This is most definitely a book of its time. While the author may, rightly, complain about racial stereotyping, he is not above using very un-politically correct about his class. As such, it is hard, at times to remain sympathetic with him — he often comes across as self congratulatory and a little smug.

That said, this is an interesting account of those times and of an area I know well, and the problems faced by the population of the time — as well as those of the author himself. He perfectly represents someone who saw Britain as home, but was rudely reawakened when he faced the distrust and disapproval of the local population. Yet, in his new job he will awaken respect in those around him, find respect for those he, himself, dismissed, and also find love. For all its faults, this is a fascinating and heart-warming memoir, which will make you think. Mar 23, obh rated it really liked it.

A No frills book. Read it during train-journey at night yes, people still use this old mode of transportation. This book is highly relevant to the current Indian situation, caste and colour have played a great role in the past centuries in India, only after Independence has it been considered as a crime. But still the social stigma of being born into the lower caste has its effect on the minds and hearts of many young children.

In Britain it was if you're black you might as well die, in India A No frills book. In Britain it was if you're black you might as well die, in India if you're from the low-caste you might as well die too. No doubt we had many great leaders from the so called "lower" castes, Ambedkar is my personal favorite, this book opens your eyes to the prejudice that we have inspite of the indifference between people. Hope we all learn from this book! I wish I could have a teacher like that! View 1 comment.

This book grabbed me from the very beginning. If I had the opportunity, I would have finished it in one sitting. It greatly appealed to me because I also was involved in the field of education, and saw many children go through the school doors everyday. Braithwaite wrote about respecting his pupils and in return they respected him. And because of this respect the students became more interested and actively participated in their learning.

Even though this is a partially fictionalized account of Bra This book grabbed me from the very beginning. Even though this is a partially fictionalized account of Braithwaite's first year of teaching, it is a valuable resource for those going into the teaching profession. The women carried large heavy shopping bags, and in the ripe mixture of odours which accompanied them, the predominant one hinted at a good haul of fish or fishy things.

They reminded me somehow of the peasants in a book by Steinbeck — they were of the city, but they dressed like peasants, they looked like peasants, and they talked like peasants. Their cows were motor-driven milk floats; their tools were mop and pail and kneeling pad; their farms a forest of steel and concrete. In spite of the hairgrips and headscarves, they had their own kind of dignity. They joshed and chivvied each other and the conductor in an endless stream of lewdly suggestive remarks and retorts, quite careless of being overheard by me — a Negro, and the only other male on the bus.

The conductor, a lively, quick-witted felllow, seemed to know them all well enough to address them on very personal terms, and kept them in noisy good humour with a stream of quips and pleasantries to which they made reply in kind. Sex seemed little more than a joke to them, a conversation piece which alternated with their comments on the weather, and their vividly detailed discussions on their actual or imagined ailments.

There was another particularly fine example of the type later on the book: I did not go over to him: these Cockneys are proud people and prefer to be left to themselves at times when they feel ashamed. But then race is always partially about class. The class structure is one of the ways that racial status can be monitored and enforced. He was rejected from all the engineering jobs which he was better qualified to do, often on explicitly racial grounds in the days when it was legal to tell people that to their faces, and fell into teaching because it was the only option available.

Clearly he is an impressive man, and I can believe he was an inspiring teacher, and I expect the broad outlines are all true… but for something which claims to be non-fiction, it just seems like it was written by someone who was willing to burnish the truth for the sake of a good story. I seem to have been harder on it than I really intended. To Sir with Love was one of my favorite movies when I was younger. Secretly I was in love with Sidney Poitier and envious of his students.

The book is well worth reading for a couple reasons. As is usual in movies, story-line was sacrificed to intensify drama. In the book you have narration, background, and real characters including development.

Key Points:

Also, To Sir with Love was one of my favorite movies when I was younger. Also, the actual book has another purpose, which the movie largely ignores—the story of a highly educated black veteran who tries to find employment in post-World War II England and instead encounters very real forms of racial bigotry. They expect of him a courteous subservience and contentment with a lowly state of menial employment and slum accommodation. I had believed in freedom, in the freedom to live in the kind of dwelling I wanted, providing I was able and willing to pay the price; and in the freedom to work at the kind of profession for which I was qualified, without reference to my racial or religious origins.

All the big talk of Democracy and Human Rights seemed as spurious as the glib guarantees with which some manufacturers underwrite their products in the confident hope that they will never be challenged. The Briton at home takes no responsibility for the protestations and promises made in his name by British officials overseas. I reflected on my life in the U.

There, when prejudice is felt, it is open, obvious, blatant; the white man makes his position very clear, and the black man fights those prejudices with equal openness and fervor, using every constitutional device available to him. The rest of the world in general and Britain in particular are prone to point an angrily critical finger, at American intolerance, forgetting that in its short history as a nation it has granted to its Negro citizens more opportunities for advancement and betterment, per capita, than any other nation in the world with an indigenous Negro population.

Preview: To Sir, With Love II (1996)

I have yet to meet a single English person who has actually admitted to anti-Negro prejudice; it is even generally believed that no such thing exists here. A Negro is free to board any bus or train and sit anywhere, provided he has paid the appropriate fare; the fact that many people might pointedly avoid sitting near him is casually overlooked. He is free to seek accommodation in any licensed hotel or boarding house—the courteous refusal which frequently follows is never ascribed to prejudice.


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The betrayal I now felt was greater because it had been perpetrated with the greatest of charm and courtesy. Perhaps the omission of the racial issue in the movie was as much due to the medium as anything else. Books allow for asides and explanations which film is at pains to include. All the more reason to read the book, as well as others by the same author. View all 11 comments. This book is a piece of nonfiction narrated by Braithwaite about his experience of teaching teenagers.

Braithwaite, black in color gets a job in a school after many refusals because of his skin color. Though the other staff members accepted him, the students were hateful towards him and the story shows how Braithwaite changed this hate to love. This is a very special book for me as it reminds me of a teacher I have.

To Sir, With Love author E R Braithwaite dies aged 104

Those so many things she taught us, apart from a 5 Brilliant Braithwaite Stars!! Those so many things she taught us, apart from academics. As first, we, the students, thought she was very strict but as days went by, we realized that no one can be better than her. This book is so real. Am sure it has forced all the readers to associate one of their teachers with Braithwaite because he shows the actual relation of a teacher and student :D Recommended for everyone!! Jul 10, Sarah AlObaid rated it really liked it Shelves: on-my-bookshelf.

This book was a very interesting read. It tells the story of Braithwaite, a middle-aged black man, when he gets a job as a teacher in an all-white school in England which is, more or less, not very reputable. Since racism against black people is very different in England than it is in the United 4. Since racism against black people is very different in England than it is in the United States or other places, we get to see racism that's not blunt, but still equally hurtful and demeaning.

And then later on we get to see how a person who studied a completely different field, ends up being one of the best teachers a school has ever seen. I essentially picked this book up upon recommendation from my school librarian since she said it was very similar to The Freedom Writers' Diary. For a long time, and up until now, i was obsessed with The Freedom Writers; both the book and the movie. And To Sir, With Love did not disappoint. It was very shockingly similar to The Freedom Writers, in that the children involved grew up in terrible neighborhoods and had to face problems that were way beyond their age.

The two books are also similar in their tackling of racism and prejudice. So if you liked the former, you would probably also like the latter and vice versa. What i disliked about the book, but which i totally understand given the time period in which it was written, is that it had some sexist or backward remarks. They were few and hard to notice, but since i am very concerned with this issue, they bugged me a little. I also found it a bit slow in the first ish pages, but it certainly picks up after that.

It is very insightful and important. Sep 25, Suzanne rated it really liked it Shelves: want-to-read-again , high-school. Another goodie wanting to be re-read. Too young to appreciate first time that I think I will love this second time around. As always, I think of the movie or should I say video when as lazy youngsters we would've loved a lazy lesson. And of course all the boys that watched the movie only! View all 3 comments.

Mar 01, Rebecca rated it really liked it. Loved it so Had studied an excerpt in school and so was excited about reading it. Fulfilled my expectations and more. A truly inspiring and heartwarming story. And surprised at the real amount of snobbish rascism abroad. Oct 28, Penny rated it liked it Shelves: classics. I re-read this recently and found much of it dated and strangely prejudiced!!! One shouldnt impose today's morals on the past - perhaps!! This is a well known and inspiring account of a West Indian young man who comes to England following WW2 to work as a teacher.

He had tried to get other work but no one would employ him due to his colour. He gets a job in a forward thinking but struggling East End secondary school where the kids are violent and lacking ambition. He gradually earns their respect I re-read this recently and found much of it dated and strangely prejudiced!!! He gradually earns their respect and he respects them. This side of the book was as I remembered - touching and informative of the racism that existed exists? However, in this reading I stumbled again and again with the author's depiction of women and the teenage girls in his class.

Whilst we get a wide range of characters and physical descriptions many were unnecessarily sexual - ie 'huge-breasted bovine women', 2 pages on we have another description of 'prominent breasts' , next page 'beautiful and full-figured' further on we have 'breasts straining against sweaters'.

While the book is a wonderful diatribe against racisim - it doesnt read so well in its persistently sexual view of women. I wonder if I am being unduely harsh on a book that was written in same year roughly as Call the Midwife and there are clever, capable and greatly respected women teachers in the book - and yet it is the actual prose that causes me problems, repeatedly selecting subtle sexist phrases that I could have done without.

View all 6 comments. A heart warming book. A story of a black man winning over the students and parents in the poor but cosmopolitan area of London Eats End. A very positive man and his very positive story. Shelves: movie-adaptations. Having loved the movie and recommendations from my friends helped to pick up this book. Inspiring story of one man rising against racism, becoming an ideal teacher and role model against a very harsh backdrop, moulding many lives to bring about positive changes in the society around him.

More than imparting knowledge on the subject matter, Mr Braithwaite becomes the guiding light for imparting moral conduct and judgement, which becomes more pivotal in the overall growth of a student. Every school Having loved the movie and recommendations from my friends helped to pick up this book.

Every school should have at least one such teacher focusing not solely on the course material and syllabus. A short and sweet heart warming read. Oct 16, Aloke rated it really liked it Shelves: non-fiction , e-owned , history , memoir , engerland. I'd heard of the movie but never considered reading the book until it was mentioned in "Austerity Britain" as an example of the prejudice faced by Blacks and Indians in 50's England.

There are other glimpses of 50s London too with vignettes about riding the bus, visiting museums and restaurants and of course the description of the school and its East End neighbourhood. It also bears reading as a reminder of the attitudes of the day. Racism, classism and sexism abound but we can glimpse the seeds I'd heard of the movie but never considered reading the book until it was mentioned in "Austerity Britain" as an example of the prejudice faced by Blacks and Indians in 50's England.

Racism, classism and sexism abound but we can glimpse the seeds of change in those attitudes for example in the progressive teaching philosophies of the school's headmaster Florian this reminded me a bit of the teachers at the school in Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go"!

I wonder if he was inspired at all by this book. Even Braithwaite's prejudices come out clearly and given that he had the advantage of portraying himself it shows that these were taken for granted at the time. The writing is simple and straightforward; even his romantic life is treated analytically.

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I remember reading about his engineering and physics background and thinking this was a book written by an engineer but that doesn't mean that it lacks style, I found myself looking forward to picking it up each time. Discussion with Braithwaite at age ! One of the best books I have ever read during my schooldays! Dec 16, Paul Lothane rated it really liked it. How apposite that I would re-read this book again after hearing that the revered old man, Braithwaite the author is dead, one of the world's most famous centenarians.

This book is very well-written as the world knows, with lots of fine descriptions, allusions, and the work for decades has always added to one's vocabulary. For us Africans, however, Braithwaite always apparently lacked a sense of humour, which ironically is often associated with his race, even those who've been oppressed and sup How apposite that I would re-read this book again after hearing that the revered old man, Braithwaite the author is dead, one of the world's most famous centenarians.

For us Africans, however, Braithwaite always apparently lacked a sense of humour, which ironically is often associated with his race, even those who've been oppressed and suppressed overwhelmingly. In his writings he often comes across as rather strict and censorious, lacking a lot of fun, fluency and flamboyance.