In our time Englishness has become a theme for speculation rather than dogma; twentieth-century writers have found it an elusive and ambivalent concept, a cue for nostalgia or for a sense of exile and loss. Literary Englands meditates on modern meanings of Englishness and explores some of the ways in which a sense of nationality has informed and shaped the work of a range of writers including Edward Thomas, Forster and Lawrence, Leavis and George Sturt, Orwell and Evelyn Waugh, Betjeman, Larkin and Geoffrey Hill.
"...a wide-ranging discussion of what constitutes 'literary Englands' or 'literary Englishness' in the works of a group of important British authors...readable and lucidly presented...Highly recommended." Choice "Gervais as a critic is often both sensible and acute." John Bayley, Times Literary Supplement