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Reading Without Tears


My mother the marvellous educator
John Julius Norwich Writer
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Anyway, I had the happiest possible childhood thanks entirely... well, not thanks entirely but thanks very largely to having really the best mother I could ever have hoped for in the world. She was a wonderful mother. My parents had taken 10 years before they'd had me, they were married in 1919, I was born in '29. And my mother was given up by all the gynaecologists of London, said not a chance. Then suddenly, out I popped. So was an only child and had this enormous amount of love and attention from the very, very beginning.

My mother was a marvellous educator. From the age of about I should think literally three or four, I would scramble into her bed every morning, still warm from the body of my father and we'd start lessons. And we'd have lessons in history, which was all the stories of English history that you might imagine. Little Arthur's England was the book at the time that was read. I was taught to read with a wonderful book called Reading Without Tears. And Reading Without Tears, I think I'm going even to quote you a little extract from it.

John Julius Norwich (1929-2018) was an English popular historian, travel writer and television personality. He was educated at Upper Canada College, Toronto, at Eton, at the University of Strasbourg and on the lower deck of the Royal Navy before taking a degree in French and Russian at New College, Oxford. He then spent twelve years in H.M. Foreign Service, with posts at the Embassies in Belgrade and Beirut and at the Disarmament Conference in Geneva. In 1964 he resigned to become a writer. He is the author of histories of Norman Sicily, the Republic of Venice, the Byzantine Empire and, most recently, 'The Popes: A History'. He also wrote on architecture, music and the history plays of Shakespeare, and presented some thirty historical documentaries on BBC Television.

Listeners: Christopher Sykes

Christopher Sykes is an independent documentary producer who has made a number of films about science and scientists for BBC TV, Channel Four, and PBS.

Tags: Reading Without Tears

Duration: 1 minute, 14 seconds

Date story recorded: 2017

Date story went live: 03 October 2018