In the seventeenth century the English were often depicted as a nation of barbarians, fanatics, and king-killers. Two hundred years later they were more likely to be seen as the triumphant possessors of a unique political stability, vigorous industrial revolution, and a world-wide empire. These may have been British achievements; but the virtues which brought about this transformation tended to be perceived as specifically English. Ideas of what constituted Englishness changed from a stock notion of waywardness and unpredictability to one of discipline and dedication. The evolution of the so-called national character - today once more the subject of scrutiny and debate - is traced through the impressions and analyses of foreign observers, and related to English ambitions and anxieties during a period of intense change.
`Review from Hardback edition In his exhaustively researched, elegantly written and immensely engaging study, Langford identifies the national characteristics as energy, candour, decency, taciturnity, reserve and eccentricity.' Cultural and Social History `Langford sets out to prove his case in a robust, no-nonsense, thoroughly empirical manner.' David Bell, London Review of Books, 14/12/00. `Langford has found some real gems in his vast mine of material.' David Bell, London Review of Books, 14/12/00. `Langford himself has a pleasantly dry wit.' David Bell, London Review of Books, 14/12/00. `This wonderful book brings such detail and generalisation together by being organised not chronologivally but by 'six major supposed traits of Englishness': Energy, Candour, Decency, Taciturnity, Reserve, Eccentricity. Langford has read widely and unpredictably, especially in accounts that have never been translated into English. This has allowed him to produce a book that is, in one respect, brilliantly un-English: it is fascinated by what foreigners have thought.' The Guardian
Number Of Pages: 404
Published: 1st September 2001
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.32 x 15.8 x 2.39
Weight (kg): 0.65