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England and Englishness: Ideas of Nationhood in English Poetry, 1688-1900

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John Lucas' study examines how the notion of "Englishness" is expressed in English poetry. His subject is not patriotism, but the way poets are forced to place themselves in a tradition, a relationship to the State and the Establishment, sometimes as apologists, sometimes as rebels and outsiders. Through close readings of poets from Pope and Dryden to Browning and Tennyson, "England and Englishnesss" charts the ambivalences and tensions which the very idea of Englishness creates, and raises many questions, such as who speaks for a nation's consciousness, and who decides what a national identity is. John Lucas' previous books include "The Literature of Change: Studies in the Provincial Novel" and "Moderns and Contemporaries". Hide synopsis

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