‘In these richly humane essays Adrian Barlow joins the ranks of literary critics such as Raymond Williams and Richard Hoggart who have contributed so much to the vitality of university liberal adult education.’
Philip Healy, formerly Director of Public Programmes, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education
Extramural is nothing less than a first-hand, definitive celebration of the importance of lifelong learning by a gifted teacher and administrator who wears his own scholarship lightly, delighting, as the best teachers always do, in the fact that ‘you are likely to learn as much from your students as they will learn from you.’ Nobody who reads Adrian Barlow’s wonderfully alert account of further education courses taught mainly at Cambridge’s Madingley Hall could fail to envy those who have participated in them, and no institution could have a better advertisement. This, though, is only part of the book’s value. Containing the texts of various commissioned lectures on Barlow’s twin loves of literature and architecture, plus occasional reviews and a selection of lively, sometimes engagingly forthright items from his blog ( e.g. ‘Please forgive the indignant tone of what follows. . .’), Extramural combines polemic, literary criticism and autobiography in what amounts to a vivid memoir of his life in education. As an occasional Madingley Hall tutor myself, I found the book ringing true on every page.
John Mole, Writer in Residence at Magdalene College, Cambridge, Poet in Residence to the Poets Society in the City of London and Poet in Residence of ‘Poet in the City’
Drawing on a broad theoretical understanding as well as the author’s personal experience of teaching literature in an extramural context, this is a genuinely illuminating study. In the present political climate it is also a timely one, reminding us of how much society stands to lose if continuing education is not adequately valued and supported.
Jem Poster, Professor and Director of Creative Writing, Aberystwyth University; formerly University Lecturer in Literature, Oxford University Department for Continuing Education