First published in 1989, this is the third of three volumes exploring the changing notions of patriotism in British life from the thirteenth century to the late twentieth century and constitutes an attempt to come to terms with the power of the national idea through a historically informed critique.
This volume studies some of the leading figures of national myth, such as Britannia and John Bull. One group of essays looks at the idea of distinctively national landscape and the ways in which it corresponds to notions of social order. A chapter on the poetry of Edmund Spenser explores metaphorical representations of Britain as a walled garden, and the idea of an enchanted national space is taken up in a series of essays on literature, theatre and cinema. An introductory piece charts some of the startling changes in the image of national character, from the seventeenth-century notion of the English as the most melancholy people in Europe, to the more uncertain and conflicting images of today.
Table of Contents
List of illustrations; Notes on contributors; Introduction: The figures of national myth Raphael Samuel; National Gallery; 1 John Bull Jeannine Surel 2 Britannia Madge Dresser 3 Old soldiers Joany Hichberger 4 Pearly kings and queens Raphael Samuel and Gareth Stedman Jones 5 Britain’s royal romance Tom Nairn; Music; 6 Greensleeves and the idea of national music Alun Howkins 7 Calypso and reggae Imruh Bakar; Landscape; 8 Village school or blackboard jungle? Ken Worple 9 The liberty of the park Jill Franklin 10 ‘Constable country’ between the wars Alex Potts; Literature; 11 Conrad and England Benita Parry 12 Time, space and unity: the symbolic discourse of The Faerie Queene Peter Stallybrass 13 Kipling and masculinity Preben Kaarsholm 14 Orwell revisited Beatrix Campbell 15 George Smiley and post-imperial nostalgia; Theatre; 16 Inverted emblems for albion: Wellington and Napoleon on stage Louis James 17 Penny plain, tuppence coloured Nicola Johnson 18 Doing the Lambeth Walk Alison Light and Raphael Samuel; Cinema; 19 Docklands Dickens Raphael Samuel; Name index; Subject index