Third World

Frank Kermode

In 1989 it would occur to nobody to invent the Third Programme. It probably couldn’t have happened at any time except when it did. The war seemed to have shown that the public for music and books and culture generally had been thrillingly enlarged. The Forces had developed a keen appetite for education, cultural and civic, some of it pretty subversive, for the service vote is known to have had a lot to do with the election of the Labour Government of 1945. Among my few wholly happy memories of the war years are the stricken faces of fellow officers when they heard the news: only the evil of Education, they felt, could explain it.

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[*] The Third Programme: A Literary History by Kate Whitehead. Oxford, 260 pp., £25, 9 February, 0 19 812893 2.