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This interview is taken from PN Review 92, Volume 19 Number 6, July - August 1993.

in Conversation with Colin MacCabe Nicolas Tredell


Nicolas Tredell: Could I begin by asking about your formation through home and school, prior to going to university?

Colin MacCabe: My parents are Irish and came over to England just after the war and just before I was born. In that sense, and I think it is of some importance, I'm a first generation immigrant, though obviously Ireland's different to other immigrant communities. I went to a Catholic school in Ealing called St Benedict's, and it's a pardonable exaggeration to say there were no English people there. Because it was a Catholic school, there were a lot of Irish, Poles and Italians. It was a public school which was founded by Downside at the beginning of the 20th century, I suppose to deal with the problems of surburban Catholics, and it got an incredible lease of life in the postwar period because of the shortage of schools. This meant that something like half the places, from eleven onwards, were paid for by various local councils, and the school was effectively a super grammar school for bright Catholic boys. It was an odd mixture of a very bad school - it had many of the features of a third rate public school - and a very good one. I got fantastically good teaching there, particularly in the senior school before I left, and especially from a history master called Steve Walker who was phenomenally successful at ...

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