Tuesday, 28 April 2015

MUM AT LSE

In a letter written shortly before her death she wrote that her life “started with an arrival, inauspicious, at the LSE.  She had been discovered by Professor Harold Laski after she had invited him to talk at the Ealing branch of the Labour League of Youth of which she was chairwoman (or “charwoman” as Laski pronounced it). Laski invited her to come and work at the LSE in order to go to lectures and study for her university entrance examination. She worked in the Machine Room as a secretary to the Statistics Department for two years and in 1948 she was summoned before Laski and admitted to the School under the tutorship of Professor Kingsley Smellie.  She was by then assistant secretary of the Ealing Labour Party.

While Laski’s desire “to share what is most dignified in human nature” was the reason Mum had arrived at LSE, one of her own observations once there was that “it is not the case that the elite possess the works, but that the works possess the elite… The elite as I met it at LSE was at my service; there would have been no ‘beauties’ of Plato, Rousseau, Hobbes for me to have ‘a sight’ of, if generations of individuals whom these writers had come to ‘possess’ had not submitted to serve and to keep these works in tact and ever re-creative and re-created.”


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