Paxman tries to give a historical explanation of the traits that define - or used to define - the English identity. It gives us foreigners little hints on English vs British, it's more aimed at domestic audience. England's national identity was a popular issue back in late 1990s, with the devolution at home giving Scotland and Northern Ireland their own parliament and the upcoming Euro abroad threatening to overshadow the pound's influence and value.
Interesting read, but I found Kate Fox's "Watching the English" much more helpful for us outsiders.
analizza tutti gli aspetti della vita inglese. a volte mi sono trovata daccordo, altre no.
the importance of a sense of duty
the emotions are to there to be controlled
any public display of national pride is not merely unsophisticated but somehow morally reprehensible
nicknames: scots are jocks, welshmen taffies and irishmen paddies or micks, but - another sign of their dominance - it is noticeable there is no similar designation for the english.
apart from at a few football and and cricket matches, england scarcely exists as a country.
1090 reasons why it's great to be english: the weather, pork scratchings, page three girls, charles dickens, the m25 motorway, the world's biggest circular traffic jam, agatha christie and deidre the newspaper's own agony aunt.
it seems to have been important to the english to believe that, like st george, they had been roused from their bucolic idyll to fight monsters.
the idea of the few ( = the english) occurs time and again through popular accounts of english history
there is a case for saying that the invention of the church of england was the invention of england. however, this is not to say that the english are a churchy people
anti-catholicism came from the belief that once the country had gone through the reformation, it was impossible to be both a roman catholic and a patriot
the only way to gain social acceptance in england was to feign indifference.
that's the trouble with the outside world. it keeps on intruding on domestic peace
the english don't much care to be liked. they prefer the company of other misanthropes. since no misanthrope worth the name would actually want to join a club, eager applications must be snubbed.
no nation has identified itself more with the house
the english answer to the streets is the back garden, in which socializing is by invitation only
at the end of the day, instead of sitting on the street chatting, the english would rather go home and slam the door
the damp english air and perpetually overcast sky made the english family seek refuge indoors when in other climates they might have wanted to socialize outdoors.
do-it-yourself is a true national obsession
almost everyone has given their house a name
it is a country of watercolours rather than oil, miniatures rather than monuments
the capacity for infinite surprise at the weather is distinctly english
the english don't give a damn, they couldn't care less what others think
the obsessive english belief that the only real england is some other version of arthur bryant's land of singing milkmaids
the england has no national anthem (lo sapevate?? ciò che è più vicino all'inno nazionale è rule britannia, o land of hope and glory o jerusalem).
any intelklectual position is worth dying or killing for is a leap no english academic could make. it is a cliché that there are no intellectuals in england. it is so untrue. but if you are going to be an intellectual in england, you had better do it discreetly and certainly not call yourself an intellectual
english men are obsessed by breasts
the moment a frenchman opens his mouth , he declares his identity. the french speak french. the english speak a language which belongs to no one
the english have a natural taste for disorder. popular festivities could often turn into physical attacks on supposed foreigners
the violence seems to have a ritualistic el.ement to it and the crowd understood and accepted the limits of what was permissible
in england, streeet insurrection is less often to do with politics and more to do with an innate readiness to trade punches
the english prefer sneaky crimes to anything involving confrontation and violence
once the industrial revolution had drawn workers into the towns, knowledge of country cooking died
molto interessante, variegato, scritto in modo comprensibile e appassionante. LO CONSIGLIO...Continua
Whilst I enjoyed the book, I'm not sure I saw myself in it all that much. Lots of good stuff on the British v the English thing, on class and the countryside, a nice essay on the weather and house-buying/apartment-renting, but you're left wondering if the PaxMan cares for the English all that much. He has little time for the country's detractors, those that think England's going to the dogs and that life was so much better in the good old days, before Europe, before immigration, before television etc etc, but as he notes himself the English, in his book, are them, not us. Not sure he wants to identify that closely with them. Not sure I do too....Continua
The book I read when I moved to UK in 2004.
It indeed helped me to understand the awkward ENGLISH-ness. The difference between the expressions British and English was the most impressive discovery I had from this book. Jeremy Paxman's writing sounds exactly the same as his Newsnight talk.