August 2014 Guest Editor Gerald Seymour on England, Their England...
And I can also get another wet eye, but this time from laughter, when I take off the shelves the immortal ‘England Their England’ by A.G. Macdonnell. It is a comic spoof story of a journey through the English social whirl between the wars. The chapter that is still hilarious, and true, describes a cricket match on a village green when the young toffs from London come down to play the locals. I used to play cricket for my home village in rural Surrey and I have total empathy with Macdonnell’s writing. Utterly absorbing, well worth hunting out.
As a young Scot exiled to the alien landscape of 1920s England, Douglas Cameron finds himself navigating his way through the intimacies and excesses of a nation undergoing great cultural and social upheaval. Witnessing the last gasps in the demise of a privileged earlier world, our hero finds himself negotiating archetypal English situations, including the lavish country house weekend, a traditional fox hunt, international diplomacy at the League of Nations and, most famously, a village cricket match – all as part of his efforts to compile a book capturing the essence of Englishness. Affectionately narrated, eloquent and poignant, yet at times just slightly ruthless and often with an acerbic note of satire, this description of England in the throes of social turmoil remains an hilarious, irreverent yet compassionate portrait. Since winning the James Tait Black Memorial Prize on publication in 1933, England, Their England has retained an enduring appeal for generations and is now regarded as a classic of literary humour.
“It’s very, very comforting, it’s very funny and whenever you think things in this country are pretty bonkers then you can read this book from the thirties and realise ‘Ah, they’ve always been fairly similar’ … I love it.” Ian Hislop
Publication date: 09/05/2011
Publisher: Oleander Press
|Publication date:||9th May 2011|
|Categories:||Classic fiction (pre c 1945),|
Archibald Gordon Macdonell (3 November 1895 – 16 January 1941) was a Scottish writer, journalist and broadcaster. Born in Poona, India, AG Macdonell considered himself to be a Scotsman more than anything else. His father was a physician, and he was educated at Winchester where he was excelled academically and at sports, representing the school at association football and golf. During World War I, he served for two years as a lieutenant of the Royal Field Artillery before being invalided out of the army, possibly because of shell shock. (Lieutenant Cameron, the protagonist of England, Their England is sent home for the same ...More About A.G. Macdonell