Alan Bennett, ‘The Uncommon Reader’ (2007)

Seems to suggest that the Queen would abdicate, awaken to moral sensibilities, become a liberal, publicly attack the government, if only she read literature! And quip! The Queen does not quip! She’s a miserable boot, icon of dreary, dull conservatism, shirts-too-tightly-buttoned establishment pomp. Bennett is smug. As if reading literature makes you a more worthy human being; as if it is a modern crisis that none of us read Proust. It is ahistorical nonsense. It is a poor tribute to Proust that so recklessly and dumbly recycles cliches about the Good Old Days.

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