Monday, July 20, 2020

The politics of Stig of the Dump

I've discovered another enjoyable podcast. Each episode of Curiously Specific Book Club, which is presented by Tim Wright and Lloyd Shepherd, takes a humorous look at a single book, looking for textual clues as to exactly where and when it is set.

Their look at Clive King's Stig of the Dump tackles a puzzle common to many children's book. Is it set in the England of the year it was published or the England of the author's childhood?

Wright and Shepherd visit the book's setting and find that changes in land use and ownership have made the friendship between children of different social classes it celebrates much less likely today.

I read Stig of the Dump when I was very young and had completely forgotten its mystical element.

Another edition of the podcast, this one on Muriel Spark's The Ballad of Peckham Rye, reminds us that the Grand Surrey Canal, which linked Peckham and Camberwell with the Surrey Docks, survived into the 1970s.

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