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Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain…

Under Another Sky: Journeys in Roman Britain (2013)

by Charlotte Higgins

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  Lunapilot | Jul 19, 2016 |
Beginning as a travelogue of what can be seen of Rome's presence in Britain, over the course of the book Higgins engages in a meditation on what, if anything, Britain's Roman past really means in an era when "Little England" nationalism is again becoming a real political force. If nothing else Higgins finds literary relevance in this history, as it's the Romans who created a vision of a Britain that was wild and challenging which remains a lasting goad to the imagination. It can also be read as a love letter by a student of classical studies to those who created her discipline. ( )
  Shrike58 | Jun 12, 2016 |
Charlotte Higgins travels round Roman Britain's sites, more or less chronologically, and considers what we know of its history and how people have reacted to the physical remains between then and now.

Fascinating book which made me want to spend the next 10 years holed up in a library reading the books she references and simultaneously travelling round looking at the sites. ( )
  Robertgreaves | Oct 20, 2015 |
I was expecting a geographical and Romano-British historical journey but the first third also included a struggle through British 17th century onward romantic literature based on the Classics. The remaining two thirds of the book improve, reverting to an easier style. ( )
  gwhitehead | Aug 22, 2014 |
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Then again, Under Another Sky is not only a work of serious history, it is more personal than that. Higgins and her partner travel around the country in a disintegrating VW camper van looking for Roman ruins, or evidence of their occupation. She has been compared to WG Sebald, but I think this is because of the black-and-white photographs she has used, which always look melancholy. Higgins's work is not as weighty, or indeed as melancholy, as Sebald's; it is conversational, anecdotal, in a way that makes it easy for her to slip in quite a lot of information. And the impressionistic manner works at another level, too, for it honestly reproduces the way that it is mostly only impressions that we can have of the Romans.
added by inge87 | editThe Guardian, Nicholas Lezard (Mar 4, 2014)
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If you stand at the end of the modernist concrete pier in the Kentish town of Deal, you can lean into the sea breeze, as fresh to the face as a dousing of cold water, and look back to the shoreline, where coffee-coloured waves crackle against the pebbled beach.
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"This is shortlisted for the 2013 Samuel Johnson Prize and the Thwaites Wainwright Prize. This is a book about the encounter with Roman Britain: about what the idea of 'Roman Britain' has meant to those who came after Britain's 400-year stint as province of Rome - from the medieval mythographer-historian Geoffrey of Monmouth to Edward Elgar and W.H. Auden. What does Roman Britain mean to us now? How were its physical remains rediscovered and made sense of? How has it been reimagined, in story and song and verse? Charlotte Higgins has traced these tales by setting out to discover the remains of Roman Britain for herself, sometimes on foot, sometimes in a splendid, though not particularly reliable, VW camper van. Via accounts of some of Britain's most intriguing, and often unjustly overlooked ancient monuments, Under Another Sky invites us to see the British landscape, and British history, in an entirely fresh way: as indelibly marked by how the Romans first imagined, and wrote, these strange and exotic islands, perched on the edge of the known world, into existence"--Publisher's description.… (more)

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