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Visions of England by Roy Strong
  

Visions of England

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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.

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

30th November 1999

Author

Roy Strong

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Format

Hardback

Categories

The Real World
History
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eBook Favourites


ISBN

9781847921604

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