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England: An Elegy [Hardcover]

Roger Scruton
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Amazon Review

Following in the footsteps of distinguished books such as Peter Laslett's The World We Have Lost and Julian Barnes' England, England, Roger Scruton's England: An Elegy is a deeply personal lament for the disappearance of the England of his childhood. "Having been famous for their stoicism, their decorum, their honesty, their gentleness and their sexual puritanism, the English now subsist in a society in which those qualities are no longer honoured, a society of people who regard long-term loyalties with cynicism, and whose response to misfortune is to look around for someone to sue". The result is a deeply personal account of Scruton's own life, his complex relationship with his disillusioned socialist father, who "loved what was local, collegial and attached to the land", and a wide-ranging historical and philosophical meditation on English character, community, religion, law, society, government, culture and the countryside. England: An Elegy is an impassioned defence of monarchy, religion and home, against the ^"anti-English hullabaloo" that Scruton detects in a climate of devolution and European federalism. He writes with his typically intelligent and sceptical conservatism, but this is a deeply pessimistic and elitist book, that will only delight right-wing Eurosceptics. The book has a tendency to demolish Marxist views on nationhood through rhetoric rather than evidence, and its historical scope is simply too large and vague to offer a serious account of Englishness as a social and political phenomenon. Scruton offers no answers to England's dilemmas, arguing simply to be allowed to mourn the death of England, and that "to describe something as dead is not to call for its resurrection". Many readers might find that England: An Elegy is a fitting epitaph to a world that we are glad to have lost, if it ever really existed. --Jerry Brotton


'Lovers of England and the English will find themselves reading this long farewelll with constant exclamations of agreement and flashes of new understanding...The most powerful and touching parts of it are snatches of Scruton's own autobiography.' --Peter Hitchens, Express on Sunday --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Roger Scruton is the author of many books, including works of philosophy, criticism and fiction. He lives in Wiltshire where, together with his wife, he runs an experimental farm. He has written before on the English countryside in On Hunting, and he co-edited, with Anthony Barnett, Town and Country. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
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