Lovely Bits of Old England: John Betjeman at The Telegraph (Telegraph Books) Hardcover – 8 Nov 2012
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The nation could now, more than ever, do with the acute observation sof this engaging, vastly knowledgeable, self-deprecating, untidy, poetic, slightly boozy figure, full of laughter and melancholy(The Daily Telegraph)
‘[recalls] a vanished age of prose civility.’(Steven Poole Guardian, The Best Stocking-filler Books, Christmas 2012)
About the Author
JOHN BETJEMAN was born in 1906 and educated at Magdalen College, Oxford. A prolific journalist, poet and broadcaster, he became a national celebrity, famous for his passionate defence of Britain's Victorian heritage. He was knighted in 1969 and became Poet Laureate in 1972. He died in 1984.
GAVIN FULLER is head of the Telegraph library, responsible for maintaining that newspaper’s archive. He is also a former Mastermind champion and the editor of Leaves on the Line, a collection of readers’ letters to the Telegraph on trains and train journeys.
CHRISTOPHER HOWSE writes for the Telegraph, with a weekly column on the human face of religion. He is also a regular contributor to the Spectator and his latest book is The Train in Spain (2013).
Top customer reviews
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on 28 November 2012
This is a really pretty little book, which rewards repeated dipping rather than a cover-to-cover read. The selection was largely unfamiliar to me and there is no obvious overlap with the other recent Betjeman collections I've bought, except for a tribute to Max Beerbohm which also appears in the wonderful `Tennis Whites & Teacakes'. Those expecting poetry will be disappointed though, as Betjeman appears to have penned very little of it for the Telegraph, but anyone familiar with his defence of Victorian architecture, and St Pancras station in particular, is in for a treat. The majority of the book is taken up with articles on Britain's landscape and buildings, starting with a charming travel column which I was surprised to see visit Huddersfield and Southend rather than more obvious destinations like, say, Manchester or Bath. On balance, I would have liked to see more of this kind of writing and fewer of his book reviews, where he seems generally less passionate and insightful, but overall 'Lovely Bits of Old England' sits very nicely with the rest of my Betjeman collection.
on 5 April 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
If you are fan of John Betjeman you will love this collection of his articles published in the Daily Telegraph. As always his writing is descriptive and displays his extensive knowledge and research and you can hear his voice on every page.
on 31 July 2013
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I enjoyed most of this book and like and admire John Betjeman for his conservation work of buildings. It has inspired me to visit some of the buildings he mentions and to be more observant, especially of ralway stations and Town Halls.
on 10 January 2013
The accolade of 'National Treasure' might have been invented to describe Sir John Betjeman, whose interests and accomplishments were many and varied and who, in his poetry, expressed the essence of what has come to be called 'middle England'. This generally delightful book consists of a selection of his pieces for The Daily Telegraph comprised in five sections : Betjeman's Britain; Book Reviews; Men and Buildings; Sundry Articles on Architecture; and Verse, Fiction and Musings Miscellaneous. His passionate defence of Britain's Victorian heritage shines through these pages but perhaps he was a little blinkered when it came to giving the best of modern architecture its due. And perhaps, too, he was less perceptive as a book reviewer : that almost iconic modern classic J D Salinger's 'The Catcher In The Rye', for example, receives barely a hundred words and he totally misjudges the spirit of J B Priestley's novel 'Festival At Farbridge'. Otherwise, the book is enhanced by the inclusion of the affectionate and eloquent obituary written by Betjeman's fellow poet, Philip Larkin. The title, 'Lovely Bits Of Old England', is something of a misnomer : two of the most enthusiastic and celebratory pieces are about Kelso in Scotland, and the Isle of Man, which is not even part of the United Kingdom, let alone England.
Most recent customer reviews
I'm sure it will be lovely but I have bought it for someone else for a present later int he year. so.... However it arrived as described and on time - thanks.
Very nice descriptions of the old days and appreciated by an oldie like myself.