Reading Experience Database

Basic Search

Advanced Search

Record 6037

Reading Experience:

'Bernard Kops, the son of an immigrant leather worker, had a special understanding of the transition from from autodidact culture to Bohemia to youth culture, because he experienced all three. He grew up in the ferment of the Jewish East End... read "The Tempest" at school, and cried over "The Foresaken Merman". At fifteen he became a cook at a hotel, where the staff gave him Karl Marx, Henry Miller and "Ten Days that Shook the World". A neighbor presented him with the poems of Rupert Brooke, and "Grantchester" so resonated with the Jewish slum boy that he went to the library to find another volume from the same publisher, Faber and Faber. Thus he stumbled upon T.S. Eliot. "This book changed my life", he remembered. "It struck me straight in the eye like a bolt of lightning... I had no preconceived ideas about poetry and read 'The Waste Land' and 'Prufrock' as if they were the most acceptable and common forms in existence. The poems spoke to me directly, for they were bound up with the wasteland of the East End, and the desolation and lonelines of people and landscape. Accidentally I had entered the mainstream of literature".'
Century: 1900-1945
Date: unknown
Country: England
Time: n/a
Place: city: London, East End
Type of Experience (Reader):
silent aloud unknown
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown
Type of Experience (Listener):
solitary in company unknown
single serial unknown

Reader/Listener/Reading Group:

Reader:Bernard Kops
Age Child (0-17)
Gender Male
Date of Birth 1926
Socio-economic group: Clerk / tradesman / artisan / smallholder
Occupation: leatherworker's son, later cook
Religion: Jewish
Country of origin: England
Country of experience: England
Listeners present if any:
(e.g. family, servants, friends, workmates)
Additional comments: n/a


Text Being Read:

Author: William Shakespeare
Title: The Tempest
Genre: Drama
Form of Text: Print: Book
Publication details: n/a
Provenance: reading group
school text


Source Information:

Record ID: 6037  
Source - Print  
  Author: Jonathan Rose
  Editor: n/a
  Title: The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes
  Place of Publication: New Haven
  Date of Publication: 2001
  Vol: n/a
  Page: 458-9
  Additional comments: n/a

Citation: Jonathan Rose, The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (New Haven, 2001), p. 458-9,, accessed: 31 March 2023

Additional comments:

See Bernard Kops, 'World is a Wedding', various page references.



Reading Experience Database version 2.0.  Page updated: 27th Apr 2016  3:15pm (GMT)