Saturday, September 12, 2015

Ten top fictional teachers

At the Guardian Stuart Husband tagged his top ten fictional teachers. One of the literary educators:
Mr Squeers from Nicholas Nickleby

“Let any boy speak without leave, and I’ll take the skin off his back.” Yes, Wackford Squeers (the clue is in the name) is all tough love without the love, the exemplar of the sadistic classroom tyrant whose modern descendants range from Jimmy Edwards in Whack-O! to Mr Fletcher, the chair-hurling jazz instructor in Whiplash. Dickens paints the master of Dotheboys Hall in panto-villain colours - “He had but one eye... and the blank side of his face was much wrinkled and puckered up, which gave him a very sinister appearance” – and his establishment as a kind of Dantean abyss where the “pale, haggard, lank, bony” boys are served bowls of brimstone and treacle and subject to cruel and capricious punishments. Not likely to trouble the Ofsted Outstanding Providers list any time soon.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Nicholas Nickleby is on Andy Mulligan's top ten school stories list and John Mullan's list of ten of the best wicked uncles in literature, and is one of Paulette Jiles's 12 favorite books.

Also see Melissa Albert's six most notorious teachers in literature and John Mullan's ten best teachers in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue