We have lived in villages a long time. The village was the first model for communal living. Towns came much later, then cities. Later still came suburbs, neighbourhoods, townships, communes, kibbutzes. But the village has endured. Across England, modernity creeps up to the boundaries of many, breaking the connection the village has with the land. With others, they can be as quiet as the graveyard as their housing is bought up by city ‘weekenders’, or commuters. The ideal chocolate box image many holidaying to our Sceptred Isle have in their minds eye may be true in some cases, but across the country the heartbeat of the real English village is still beating strongly – if you can find it. To this mission our intrepid historian and travel writer Tom Fort willingly gets on his trusty bicycle and covers the length and breadth of England to discover the essence of village life. His journeys will travel over six thousand years of communal existence for the peoples that eventually became the English. Littered between the historical analysis, will be personal memories from Tom of the village life he remembers and enjoys today in rural Oxfordshire.
In the context of this rapidly changing world, Rachel Worth explores the ways in which the clothing of the rural working classes was represented visually in paintings and photographs and by the literary sources of documentary, autobiography and fiction, as well as by the particular pattern of survival and collection by museums of garments of rural provenance. Rachel Worth explores ways in which clothing and how it is represented throws light on wider social and cultural aspects of society, as well as how 'traditional' styles of dress, like men's smock-frocks or women's sun-bonnets, came to be replaced by 'fashion'. Her compelling study, with black & white and colour illustrations, both adds a broader dimension to the history of dress by considering it within the social and cultural context of its time and discusses how clothing enriches our understanding of the social history of the Victorian period.
Why is it that for many people 'England' has always meant an unspoilt rural landscape rather than the ever-changing urban world in which most English people live? What was the 'England' for which people fought in two world wars? What is about the English that makes them constantly hanker for a vanished past, so that nostalgia has become a national characteristic? In March 1896 a small volume of sixty-three poems was published by the small British firm of Kegan Paul, Trench, Trübner & Co. Ltd in an edition of 500 copies, priced at half-a-crown each. The author was not a professional poet, but a thirty-seven-year-old professor of Latin at University College, London called Alfred Edward Housman who had been obliged to pay £30 towards the cost of publication. Although slow to sell at first, A Shropshire Lad went on to become one of the most popular books of poetry ever published and has never been out of print. As well as being a publishing phenomenon, the book has had an influence on English culture and notions of what 'England' means, both in England itself and abroad, out of all proportion to its apparent scope. Housman Country will not only look at how A Shropshire Lad came to be written and became a publishing and cultural phenomenon, but will use the poems as a prism through which to examine England and Englishness. The book contains a full transcript of A Shropshire lad itself, also making it a superb present.
The 'Land Question' occupied a central place in political and cultural debates in Britain for nearly two centuries. From parliamentary enclosure in the mid-eighteenth century to the fierce Labour party debate concerning the nationalization of land after World War Two, the fate of the land held the power to galvanize the attention of the nation.
Passionate, affectionate and indefatigably curious, In Search of England joins a tradition of writing, from William Cobbett to JB Priestley, that makes a journey around the English countryside and character. England is the most various of countries; within its borders, life changes mile on mile. Roy Hattersley celebrates crumbling churches and serene Victorian architecture, magnificent hills and wind-whipped coast, our music, theatre and local customs, and, above all, the quirky good humour and resilience of England's denizens. In Search of England is an unapologetic love story, a paean of praise for all the fascinating variety and flavour of England's places and people.
The final volume of The L.M. Montgomery Reader, A Legacy in Review examines a long overlooked portion of Montgomery’s critical reception: reviews of her books. Although Montgomery downplayed the impact that reviews had on her writing career, claiming to be amused and tolerant of reviewers’ contradictory opinions about her work, she nevertheless cared enough to keep a large percentage of them in scrapbooks as an archive of her career. Edited by leading Montgomery scholar Benjamin Lefebvre, this volume presents more than four hundred reviews from eight countries that raise questions about and offer reflections on gender, genre, setting, character, audience, and nationalism, much of which anticipated the scholarship that has thrived in the last four decades. Lefebvre’s extended introduction and chapter headnotes place the reviews in the context of Montgomery’s literary career and trace the evolution of attitudes to her work, and his epilogue examines the reception of Montgomery’s books that were published posthumously. A comprehensive account of the reception of Montgomery’s books, published during and after her lifetime, A Legacy in Review is the illuminating final volume of this important new resource for L.M. Montgomery scholars and fans around the world.