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Aberdare Boys’ Grammar School

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English Literature in Form 5, 1961-62

from Colin Rees

English Literature took place in Room 10, taught by Garfield Griffiths (Gaffer). Over the previous summer holiday we had been set homework that involved learning by heart several poems, and several speeches from Henry V. Woe betide anybody who could not stand up and recite the specified lines!

Lessons started on September 5th, or at least they did for 5A. After a very brief introduction to the difference between the Italian and English sonnet, we plunged into a considerable amount of note-taking whereby Gaffer required us to scribble down at great speed explanations of the poems, plays and novels. We studied them line-by-line with explanations given to us about words, events and places that the writers were using in their works.

The style of lesson was one that few of us had experienced previously; very little was written on the board except when spelling had to be made clear. Looking back now, I realise that this style was close to what I later experienced at university.

Below is a list of what we covered in the year that led up to O levels.

Poetry (from Palgrave’s Golden Treasury)

  Shakespeare Henry V
  Sheridan The Rivals

  Hardy Under the Greenwood Tree