Magazine article History Today

Plumb Line. (Letters)

Magazine article History Today

Plumb Line. (Letters)

Article excerpt

`Although [he] won an undergraduate place at Cambridge in 1929, he was not given the college award he needed', David Cannadine writes in his engaging memoir of the late Sir John Plumb (February, 2002). `In effect, he was a scholarship boy without the scholarship.' Since this rejection stands at the start of the story of Jack the Obscure's triumph over the purblind obscurantists, and since his obituarists (though not, to his credit, Cannadine) have identified St John's as the college that threw a pearl away richer than all his tribe, will you kindly allow a comment on the matter from the college of the obscurantists itself?

`As a glance at the St John's group scholarship book reveals', it was reported by Neil McKendrick in 1974, on the first round of marks in December 1929 Plumb was `well up among the leading scholars' but after being interviewed `dropped to the top of the Exhibitioner list', was therefore prevented from coming to Cambridge, `so went to Leicester University and got the first First ever achieved from that university' (Historical Perspectives: Studies in English Thought and Society in Honour of J. …

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