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Visions of England by Roy Strong
  

Visions of England

The Real World   History   eBook Favourites   eBook Favourites   

RRP £17.99

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A view of how the English define themselves, the key elements – the countryside, our gardens, in words and music. Looking at how these factors began to characterize us a nation, Roy Strong turns to some of the key figures in this shaping of our nation, in Shakespeare, Elgar and in Constable and Turner.

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Synopsis

Visions of England by Roy Strong

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 - combing 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.

Reviews

It is brief, compelling and essential summer reading. [Roy Strong] is an answer, one among many, to the deconstructors and under-cutters of the very idea of Englishness. Gardeners will love his book. It is based on conviction and experience, guides to the threads he selects with lucidity -- Robin Lane Fox 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... It is a blueprint for the national identity England could promote today, as the Union fragments... Visions of England preaches peace, in a 'democratic and inclusive way'. It does not only represent the journey of Sir Roy's life, it sets a course that could, if only the authorities would wake up to it, be followed now Country Life Magazine


About the Author

Roy Strong

Sir Roy Colin Strong (born 23 August 1935) is an English art historian, museum curator, writer, broadcaster and landscape designer. He has been director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

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Book Info

Publication date

7th July 2011

Author

Roy Strong

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Publisher

The Bodley Head Ltd an imprint of Vintage

Format

Hardback
240 pages

Categories

The Real World
History
eBook Favourites
eBook Favourites

Social & cultural history

ISBN

9781847921604

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