Wednesday, September 01, 2021

White supremacist sentenced to read Pride and Prejudice and other literary classics

Thanks to a nomination from a reader, the Leicester Mercury wins today's Headline of the Day Award.

And the story beneath it is worth reading too:

A young Nazi sympathizer who downloaded bomb-making instructions has been sentenced to read classic novels including Pride and Prejudice instead.

Judge Timothy Spencer QC told Ben John, 21, he could stay out of prison as long as he steered clear of white-supremacy literature and and read books and plays by Jane Austen, William Shakespeare, Thomas Hardy and Charles Dickens.

The former De Montfort University student will have to return to court every four months to be tested on his reading by the judge after avoiding jail "by the skin of his teeth".

You wonder if a young Muslim facing similar charges would have got off with a reading list of postcolonial literature, but I'm all for keeping young people out of prison if at all possible.

The idea that encountering great art makes you a better person is deeply unfashionable, though it lies at the heart of Alexei Sayle's novel Overtaken. But anything is better than reading Nazi literature.

For myself, I have never made it past the first few pages of Pride and Prejudice, but I did enjoy Northanger Abbey.


crewegwyn said...

Reading Thomas Hardy could send him off in some strange directions though ...

Martin Brookes @oakhamuk said...

I do like the Judge is going to test him

Martin Brookes @oakhamuk said...

I do hope after reading Jane Austen's book this young man does not believe he can force himself upon the woman of Leicestershire.