Flora, my wise and sophisticated stepdaughter shows me the study manual that accompanies her labours with A level English. And lo! Here I am in the glossary of Edexcel A2 English Literature Student Book, neatly tucked between Hegel and Hyperbole under the rubric humument. I am flattered.
But wait a minute. This seems not to be written for but by a student, and one moreover none too bright or knowledgeable, or even literate.
I might have known there was a reason why messages from GCSE pupils to my website usually start with my name spelt wrongly. Here it appears as Tom Phillip, possibly because the writer does not yet know how apostrophes function.
The description of my process is drab indeed and made more so by the lacklustre word 'somehow'. Nonetheless I and my books are obscure topics, unlike Hegel and his: so I glance at the entry above. It is turn-in-the-grave time for poor Friedrich. After an alarmingly rough guide to the dialectic, the student is referred to what is 'probably' (another dampening word) his most famous work The Phenomonolgy of the Spirit [sic]. Two spelling mistakes in a single vital word, plus two incorrectly added articles (the and the), and a less useful translation of 'Geist', is not bad going for what is usually now called in English Hegel's Phenomenology of Mind.
My eye strays upwards to Graphology (do they mean 'Typography'?) where I meet a usage unknown to me. I can't go on.
I'll go on; at least to find the intext reference to A Humument, and here it is with its own spectacular illiteracy, ie 'this modem form a poetry'. What can that mean?
Flora and her classmates would be justified in writing to the Examination Board to explain that if mistakes occur in their papers these may originate in the very textbook that has been approved. Should they fail the exam they might sue the authors (Mike Royston and Jackie Moore) or the publisher (Pearson Education Ltd.) by filing what the legal profession would, with nice appropriateness, call a class action.
Undeterred I offer up the latest example of 'this modem form a poetry' done at the London Sketch Club on successive visits. The left hand image is painted to mask the earlier one, suggesting a critique. Something dialectical going on here I suspect...