Tom Shippey, 26 July 1990
Show More England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900 by John Lucas.
Hogarth, 227 pp., £18, February 1990, 0 7012 0892 9Show More
The Englishman’s England: Taste, Travel and the Rise of Tourism by Ian Ousby.
Cambridge, 244 pp., £45, February 1990, 0 521 37374 3Show More
Fleeting Things: English Poets and Poems, 1616-1660 by Gerald Hammond.
Harvard, 394 pp., £24.95, March 1990, 0 674 30625 2Show More
“... Of all nations’, writes Ian Ousby, ‘we’, the English, have ‘perhaps the most strongly defined sense of national identity – so developed and so stylised, in fact, that we are frequently conscious of it as a burden or restraint’. I wonder what he can possibly mean by that. The most anomalous thing about England in comparison with all other European nations (of course it isn’t a nation, but even in comparison with Scotland and Wales) is that it doesn’t have the formal marks of national identity acquired even by Iceland or Finland, Luxembourg or Albania ...”