Studying British Cultures

Studying British Cultures

Studying British Cultures

Studying British Cultures

Synopsis

'British Studies' and 'British Cultural Studies' cover a wide range of facets of contemporary Britain. Studying British Cultures: An Introduction is a unique collection of essays which examine the most significant aspects of this quickly developing area of study, analyzing the ways of teaching and reading British culture.The work covers the contemporary and key issues, including:* the terminological distinction between 'British Studies' and 'British Cultural Studies'* the problem of national cultures and identities in contemporary Britain* studying language and literature from a British Studies perspective* models for studying the historical context of the development of ideas of 'Britishness'* studying contemporary Britain overseasThe contributors are some of the key names in current debates surrounding British Studies, and Susan Bassnett holds together their work with a substantial and accessible introduction. Studying British Cultures: An Introduction will be essential reading for students and teachers concerned with the study of contemporary Britain.

Excerpt

No doubt a third General Editor’s Preface to New Accents seems hard to justify. What is there left to say? Twenty-five years ago, the series began with a very clear purpose. Its major concern was the newly perplexed world of academic literary studies, where hectic monsters called ‘Theory’, ‘Linguistics’ and ‘Politics’ ranged. In particular, it aimed itself at those undergraduates or beginning postgraduate students who were either learning to come to terms with the new developments or were being sternly warned against them.

New Accents deliberately took sides. Thus the first Preface spoke darkly, in 1977, of ‘a time of rapid and radical social change’, of the ‘erosion of the assumptions and presuppositions’ central to the study of literature. ‘Modes and categories inherited from the past’ it announced, ‘no longer seem to fit the reality experienced by a new generation’. The aim of each volume would be to ‘encourage rather than resist the process of change’ by combining nuts-and-bolts exposition of new ideas with clear and detailed explanation of related conceptual developments. If mystification (or downright demonisation) was the enemy, lucidity (with a nod to the compromises inevitably at stake there) became a friend. If a ‘distinctive discourse of the future’ beckoned, we wanted at least to be able to understand it.

With the apocalypse duly noted, the second Preface proceeded . . .

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