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Visions of England: Or Why We Still Dream of a Place in the Country Paperback – 6 Sep 2012

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (6 Sept. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099540495
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099540496
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 315,190 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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)

Book Description

A major contribution to the debate about English identity that locates the roots of Englishness in the cultural imagination.

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 28 May 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Visions of England" is a wonderfully apt name for this book. The self image of nations is always as much a product of the collective imagination as a concrete reality. The contention of this book is that the English have only defined themselves twice in their history. For many years "English" was conflated with "British" (at least for those in England) and as the Union that made Britain more than just England starts to be un-made the book asks what it means to be English.

Such a question in the hands of the uninformed could easily become both offensive and ridiculous. But that is not the case with this book. Although the author takes the optimistic view that you may be able to read the book in a single sitting, this book manages to feel both learned and inclusive at the same time. The author gives you enough information to be able to follow his lines of thought without either patronising or assuming a knowledge that may not be present.

As an English person now living in Australia I found this book wonderfully accurate at indentifying the things that I think of when I think of England - and that is the whole point of the book. England is defined by the things that the English think of when they think of England. The world may have turned but certain aspects of the county are held to be unchanging and defining.

So is Englishness a thing that is only rooted in the past with no relevance to today? - this book would seem to suggest not.

I would recommend this book most highly as a though provoking and sensitive account of how many of came to think some of things we hold to be true.

Highly Recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Douglas Kemp on 18 Oct. 2014
Format: Hardcover
This is a short, but cogently argued book, almost a monograph, which asks the question of just what is England and what are the essential features of Englishness. Roy Strong, as former Director of both the National Portrait Gallery and the Victoria & Albert Museum, is eminently well qualified as a cultural historian and he argues with some justification, that during these times of multiculturalism and the breaking apart of the Union, there is a requirement to examine the nature of the English and the England’s arts and customs, as opposed to wider Britain.
The author argues that the essence of England can be found in the crucible of the 16th Century Tudors. This era witnessed an unprecedented artistic flowering, economic advancement and the continuation of the limitation of the limitless powers of the sovereign. But more than these, it created the myth or generally accepted perception of England, as a pastoral, bucolic society and it also initiated England’s imperial role, which for Strong, are the abiding characteristics of England and the predominant views of its history.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Reader of Rushmere on 15 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book for my Book Club. Thoroughly enjoyed it and it gave a very good insight into our English heritage as well as teaching a lot about the countryside. Well written and very readable.
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By Lihui Liu on 18 Mar. 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
all the process of buying and getting is satisfying.
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