Betjeman's England Hardcover – 14 May 2009
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'Betjeman chronicles the English way of life in exquisite, affectionate and often hilarious detail' (Independent)
'Betjeman was an original and a star' (Daily Mail)
'Remarkable collection ... this is a real treat for any fan of Betjeman, and a testament to Games's remarkable research and reconstruction' (Sunday Telegraph)
'Games has supplied an informative introduction ... Betjeman misxing charm and intimacy' (Daily Express)
'The extracts published here capture the spirit and charm of the broadcasts and the places he explored for the camera years ago that can still be enjoyed today' (Daily Express)
Betjeman combines sly humour with a deep love of Englishness' (Spectator)
'Striking package to match the previous collections in this series' (Bookseller)
'Always thoughtful, always eloquent writing' (Robert Elms Podcast)
'The real joy of this book is the chance to remember Betjeman's keen eye, sense of fun and turn of phrase' (Choice Magazine)
'A new book out that proves a treasure house ... reader will, I'm sure, enjoy Betjeman's poems about his strolls through London ... an essential gazetteer to the attractive landmarks of dear old England of yesteryear' (Kent on Sunday)
An affectionate and unabashed celebration of Englishness from one of the nation's most popular poets
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Top Customer Reviews
Amongst the observations in Stephen Games' excellent 30-page introduction are the fact that his early work tended to be delivered in a rather high-pitched dictatorial style, whilst his later work was more meditative in tone. I particularly liked the comment about his tendency to date objects along the lines of "18th century I should think", implying a instinctual approach to architecture, rather than the more precise 'Pevsner method'.
The introduction gives an overview of Betjeman's early TV work, which was fitful to say the least. Attitudes to him (then as now) were rather mixed, with the BBC rather wary of him, despite the fact that he was a frequent contributor to radio programming. As a result, much of his earlier TV work was done for independent television, such as the documentaries made with Jonathan Stedall for TWW in the early 60s, reissued as 'The Lost Betjemans'. I have to say I'm not totally sure whether the scripts work without the visuals - it's hard to read the scripts without being distracted by one's memories of the original documentaries. Stephen Games has added occasional pointers to what the viewers would have seen, but only where necessary. However, all the footnotes added show that this is a thoroughly researched anthology, perhaps only of interest to Betjemaniacs, but still a worthy addition to the growing number of books about Betjeman's multi-faceted work.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Cover 5.0 This book will compete with others on my reading table. In my dreams of flying like a bird this will take a part I read on. Pity about the 72 pages of introduction. Read morePublished on 4 Dec. 2013 by Alexander Kreator