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Single Spies won the Olivier Award as England's best comedy for 1988; Bennett, moreover, acted in both of the plays included in this double bill, and he directed one of them. His prominence extends to the cinema. Along with Helen Mirren and Nigel Hawthorne, the film's two leading players, he was nominated for an Academy Award for writing The Madness of King George (1994), in which he also acted a small role. Even away from the performing arts, he has won honors. He contributes regularly to the London Review of Books, and his 1994 book of memoirs, Writing Home, rose to the top of England's best-seller list.

Literature relies on conventions, but the conventions keep evolving; new writers form their own conventionswhich in time may become familiar. Put simply, UCBL provides instruction in how to read certain contemporary writersidentifying and explicating their material, themes, use of language, point of view, structures, symbolism, and responses to experience. The word understanding in the titles was deliberately chosen. Many willing readers lack an adequate understanding of how contemporary literature works; that is, what the author is attempting to express and the means by which it is conveyed.

Women remain at risk. The main character's mother-in-law in Getting On is dying, and a dead woman is carried from the stage in The Old Crowd. Connie Craven of Enjoy has lost her memory, and her husband, Wilfred, the victim of a hit-and-run driver, is paralyzed below the neck. Incapacitated, infirm fathers do die in both Intensive Care and Rolling Home. Like those in Soldiering On, Marks, Rolling Page 21 Home, and perhaps both A Visit from Miss Prothero and A Woman of No Importance (1982), Wilfred probably molested a family intimate.

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