Sparkling talks on 'spells' ranging from Juvenal ('mens sana in corpore sano') to Nabokov, via Coleridge and e.e cummings were given by fourteen competitors for the coveted and ever esoteric 2012 McEachran Prize on Tuesday 31 January, commemorating this extraordinary and inspirational teacher. The judge was Dr Mark Archer, who in addition to his work in the City, is an occasional arts journalist for The Spectator, Wall Street journal, FT and Daily Telegraph.
The winner of the junior section was fourth former Theo Simmons, talking about one of his own poems 'Soulweight'. In second place was fellow fourth former John Dempsey, who gave an impassioned social analysis of William Blake's 'Holy Thursday'. Guy Cabral's fascinating talk on changing perceptions of the Latin tag 'mens sana in corpore sano' (the motto of his former prep school Summer Fields) was highly commended. All three boys are in Churchill's Hall.
Xavier Greenwood (Rt) shared the senior prize with Ralph Wade (Rb). Xavier gave an astonishingly accomplished reflection on the challenging opening and closing words of Nabokov's 'Lolita', but Ralph's polished and witty meditation on lines from The 'Rime of the Ancient Mariner' made it impossible to choose an outright winner for this title. Second prize went to Rory Fraser (Ch), for his talk on Magee's 'High Flight', and James Humpish (SH) was highly commended for his deconstructionist analysis of an e.e.cummings poem.