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With Patreon, a great adventure beckons

Just as London recovered spectacularly from the plague and fire of the 1660s, so it will from Covid and the economic calamity of this past year. Cradle of English has a role in this. This month sees Cradle of English launching a page on Patreon, a membership platform that describes its function as providing business … Read More

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Theatre and the politics of empathy

Theatre enabled a shift from “I’m sorry for your loss” to “I feel your pain” and so seeded the ground for the development of Democracy Oskar Eustis, artistic director of the Public Theatre in New York City, is one of a number of eminences to have pointed out the correlations in time and place between … Read More

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The future of English in an awakening world

The world is never so dark that it cannot get darker, but the Cradle of English will reveal what one small patch of London ground was able to accomplish in making the world lighter In the short time since the idea for the “Cradle of English” was conceived, a lot has happened in the world. … Read More

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Kill all the lawyers? Shakespeare was kidding

Although a generation has passed since Fleet Street was a vibrant and still active metonym for the UK’s newspaper industry, the spirit of innovation and creative energy are still there. In fact, those qualities were there long before the newspapers arrived. It is a wonder just how many global headquarters there are within one quadrant … Read More

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Securing an anchor for our souls

In the shift from oral to written traditions in the evolution of cultures, there is inevitably a trade-off of resonance for reach. Is there a digital bottom line? Dear countrymen, Whate’er is left to us of ancient heritage; Of manners, speech, of humours, polity; The limited horizon of our stage; Old love, hope, fear: All … Read More

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Perspectives on truth

It may be a mistake to claim that the notion of truth is uniquely threatened in these days of populist politics, fake news, media bias, conspiracy theories and so on. Against these modern allegations of malign intent and bad faith, there have always been the fierce determinations of the “I know what I know” community: … Read More

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Flagship of soft power

There are four broad areas of the English economy which remain world-leading, now that we neither make nor mine anything much of note. Two with which we are not especially interested within the context of the Cradle of English are armaments and financial services. A third – the commercialisation of scientific and medical research – … Read More

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A plague on the old ways

One of Britain’s clever and funnier columnists, Marina Hyde applies her acerbic wit to the Coronavirus pandemic by recalling the Great Plague that descended on London over three centuries ago. Noting the recollection of that grisly time in Daniel Defoe’s memoir written some five decades after the event, she reveals how his “Journal of the … Read More

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Brexit and the future of English

As though following on seamlessly from the previous blogpost, a recent article in The Guardian asks “Will Brexit spell the end of English as an official EU language?” The article is book-ended with a couple of playfully incendiary rhetorical grenades: an EU official suggesting that “if we don’t have the UK, we don’t have English” … Read More

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Language in flux, not decline

The eternal question about English being in decline – or not – assumes that this is a binary choice. No, it’s more nuanced than that. Questions about the supposed decline of the English language have been around for centuries and, no doubt, will persist for many more. A flurry of interest was provoked by a … Read More

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