The Character of England

The Character of England

The Character of England

The Character of England

Excerpt

This volume is a continuation and fulfilment of the policy of the Oxford University Press in publishing works on Shakespeare's England (1916), Johnson's England (1933), and Early Victorian England (1934); but it has the wider and deeper purpose of giving a view of the general character of England, not so much at a point of time (though the present time naturally occupies the foreground), as in the whole course of its permanent and long-time operation. While the Present thus stands in the foreground, due account has also been given to the living Past; and while the theme is the character and spirit of contemporary England, history and antiquity have also entered, not, however, for their own sake, but rather as explaining the present.

The aim of the book has been to describe the spirit of England, rather than all the varied material in which that spirit works. It is also its aim to describe only England--not Britain--and this for the simple reason that a general description of Britain would not do justice to what is specifically Welsh or Scottish or Irish any more than it would do justice to what is specifically English. The chapters of the book are accordingly directed to what is characteristically English in each field, and to the characteristic English contribution in that field.

The desire of those who have planned the book, and of all who have contributed to the execution of the plan, is that it should form a monument to the England of these days, and should accordingly be inspired by a general sympathy for its achievement. But the contributors and the editor have sought to eschew the vice of self-laudation, as well as to shun the fault--or the pose--of grumbling self-depreciation. They have also sought to be serious without becoming ponderous, and to find room for what was curious, eccentric, or even comical (otherwise they would not have been true to the character of England), without forgetting the grave, the meditative, and even the melancholy. Not only have the great and famous been drawn into evidence as the basis of the verdict, but the general run of ordinary behaviour, and the simple tastes of the mass of the people, have also formed the basis of judgement. The reader will find that Bates is remembered as well as Henry V, and the fishermen of England as well as her admirals.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.