Alan Bennett's "Jolts of Recognition"

I've never been a big Bennett fan, I was probably put off him by the BBC Talking Heads adaptations with Thora Hird! But, following our trip to the Bolton Octagan to see Talking Heads Chris asked me to buy him some of Bennett's diaries. Once the books had arrived Chris started to read me snippets out of them and I started to fall in love with Alan Bennett. His descriptions of gentle Saturdays pottering around Settle and enjoying afternoon tea in Ilkley's Betty's captivated me. Then one day Chris read me an extract from the History Boys.

This was the moment I was truly hooked! Bennett's sentiments chimed with my own completely and I couldn't quite believe it! How had I missed this Alan Bennett? Where has he been all my life!!

I have had many of these moments of recognition over the years. My favourites have included Barbara Pym misquoting from Richard Crashaw in "Some Tame Gazelle" "she's for the moors and martyrdom".  This reference to Crashaw's Hymn to St Teresa was a real shock. Crashaw is so out of fashion that I didn't expect an allusion to one of his poems in a Twentieth Century novel! I felt that immediate connection to which Bennett alludes.

Pym identifies closely with the love poems of the Metaphysical poets, but this quote from Crashaw is my absolute favourite reference. I love Richard Crashaw, the only English poet of the Baroque. I love his overblown conceits and to find him quoted by one of my other favourute authors was a wonderful moment.
Another writer who so often expresses my thoughts and feelings precisely is Miss Read. In Village Affairs she refers to a way of looking at the world which a friend shared with me many years ago and which, for me, sums up so much of life. Reading it in Miss Read's novel gave me that "jolt of recognition" and connection to which to Alan Bennett refers:  
There are certain topics which crop up again and again. Not, to be sure, as rythmically as primroses and harvest, but often enough over the years to give us a little jolt of recognition.....It is rather like watching a roundabout at a Fair. The galloping horses whirl by, nostrils flaring, tails streamimg, and then suddenly there is an ostrich, strange and exotic in its plumage among the everyday beasts. The merry-go-round twirls onward and we begin to sink back into our pleasant lethargy when, once again, the ostrich appears and our interest is quickened again.