Visions of England: Or Why We Still Dream of a Place in the Country

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9780099540496: Visions of England: Or Why We Still Dream of a Place in the Country

What does it mean to be English?

For centuries, Englishness was synonymous with Britishness, informed first by the political dominance of the English monarchs over the British Isles -- reaching its apogee in the rule of Elizabeth I -- and later by the island's imperial might and expansion. But alongside that tradition, reaching back to medieval times, there has also been a vision of England as the rural arcadia celebrated by painters and poets. While the mythology of empire lingers on in the national psyche, Roy Strong argues that it is the rural tradition -- combining aestheticism, pastoralism and patriotism -- that offers an answer to the present crisis of English identity.

National identity essentially resides in the mind: evolving over time it is inevitably selective in how it epitomizes the ideals and aspirations of a people. In this searching and deeply passionate book, Roy Strong reveals an iconography of England rooted in the cultural imagination. Rather than simply depicting reality, art and literature have often ennobled -- and immortalised -- reality in a way that has directly affected how we see ourselves. Today we view Suffolk through the eyes of Constable, the Lake District comes to life in the poetry of Wordsworth, and the country house seems to emerge from the novels of Evelyn Waugh.

Free from nationalism, chauvinism and political bias, Roy Strong offers a vision of England that is inclusive and relevant for everybody living in the country today -- an appreciation of the beauty of the English countryside, a love of nature and gardening, and a celebration of the dramas of Shakespeare, the paintings of Turner and the music of Elgar.

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About the Author:

SIR ROY STRONG was director of the National Portrait Gallery from 1967 to 1971 and director of the Victoria & Albert Museum from 1974 to 1987, when he became a full-time writer, broadcaster and consultant. His books include The Story of Britain, The Arts in Britain, Coronation: A History of Kingship and the British Monarchy and, most recently, A Little History of the English Country Church.

Review:

"Compelling and essential... It is so uplifting to read... An answer, one among many, to the deconstructors and under-cutters of the very idea of Englishness... It is based on conviction and experience" Financial Times "We should be grateful to Sir Roy Strong for this book. It is an exploration of the themes that shape our sense of England: a meditation, a hymn, a road map" -- Clive Aslet Country Life "Insightful and provocative... Strong's emphasis on the pastoral tradition is a valuable reminder of the essential continuity that binds together English history" -- Dominic Sandbrook Prospect "For someone who would like to know what it is to feel identifiably English, Sir Roy provides a useful tour" -- Simon Heffer Spectator

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why do we still get misty-eyed about England s green and pleasant land? What explains our obsession with country houses - from the National Trust to Downton Abbey? Why do we still dream of a place in the country? In this delightul book Roy Strong explores the definition of Englishness. Celebrating our literature, music, art, gardening and drama, Strong identifies those icons and traditions that still speak to us - it is a vision of England that is inclusive and relevant for everybody living in the country today. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099540496

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2012. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why do we still get misty-eyed about England s green and pleasant land? What explains our obsession with country houses - from the National Trust to Downton Abbey? Why do we still dream of a place in the country? In this delightul book Roy Strong explores the definition of Englishness. Celebrating our literature, music, art, gardening and drama, Strong identifies those icons and traditions that still speak to us - it is a vision of England that is inclusive and relevant for everybody living in the country today. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099540496

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. For centuries, Englishness was synonymous with Britishness, informed first by the political dominance of the English monarchs over the British Isles - reaching its apogee in the rule of Elizabeth I, and later by the island's imperial might and expansion. This title reveals an iconography of England rooted in the cultural imagination. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; HBJD1; HBTB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 18. Weight in Grams: 240. . 2012. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099540496

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Book Description Vintage, 2012. Book Condition: New. For centuries, Englishness was synonymous with Britishness, informed first by the political dominance of the English monarchs over the British Isles - reaching its apogee in the rule of Elizabeth I, and later by the island's imperial might and expansion. This title reveals an iconography of England rooted in the cultural imagination. Num Pages: 240 pages. BIC Classification: 1DBKE; HBJD1; HBTB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 197 x 130 x 18. Weight in Grams: 240. . 2012. Reprint. Paperback. . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099540496

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