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Albion: The Origins of the English…
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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination

by Peter Ackroyd

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790811,626 (3.77)24
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Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
The only book by Peter Ackroyd that I have a) not enjoyed and b) not finished. There was some interesting material in it, but it just felt poorly organized and not well analyzed either. Mountains of quotations but little real engagement with their substance. Usually I really like his work, but I could not finish this and gave it away. ( )
  sansmerci | Sep 3, 2013 |
Recommended by William C. 29.june.2011.

have ebook version
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
Albion traces ideas, images and patterns across the centuries to consider what it means to be English. Any Anglophile will enjoy the many and varied cultural references linked within Ackroyd's dense but fascinating text. Beginning and ending with Englishmen I admire (historian the Venerable Bede (d. 735) and composer Ralph Vaughan Williams (d. 1958)), these two disparate personalities were brought together in one memorable statement: "The embrace of present and past time, in which English antiquarianism becomes a form of alchemy, engenders a strange timelessness. It is as if the little bird which flew through the Anglo-Saxon banqueting hall, in Bede's Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum, gained the outer air and became the lark ascending in Vaughan Williams's orchestral setting. The unbroken chain is that of English music itself." To me, reading this book was like examining the contents of an ancient attic trunk, ruminating on the people, places, and things that made you who you are. When you come to the end of your literary pilgrimage, you're better for having experienced it. ( )
  ukforever | Apr 21, 2011 |
What a dreadful book. A mountain of snippets of information, some of it possibly very interesting, but with no structure, no sense of connectivity between all the data. Must have been published on the basis of the author’s reputation from his other books, because this one is a shocker. Read February 2008 ( )
  mbmackay | Jul 25, 2009 |
Ackroyd is a great writer with plenty to say. ( )
  charlie68 | Jun 7, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 8 (next | show all)
As with so much of his recent output, one is continually charmed and instructed, while suspecting that the whole amounts to slightly less than the sum of its parts.
 
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0385497733, Paperback)

With his characteristic enthusiasm and erudition, Peter Ackroyd follows his acclaimed London: A Biography with an inspired look into the heart and the history of the English imagination. To tell the story of its evolution, Ackroyd ranges across literature and painting, philosophy and science, architecture and music, from Anglo-Saxon times to the twentieth-century. Considering what is most English about artists as diverse as Chaucer, William Hogarth, Benjamin Britten and Viriginia Woolf, Ackroyd identifies a host of sometimes contradictory elements: pragmatism and whimsy, blood and gore, a passion for the past, a delight in eccentricity, and much more. A brilliant, engaging and often surprising narrative, Albion reveals the manifold nature of English genius.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:42:50 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

This volume covers the whole of English cultural history from its roots in the Anglo-Saxon period, through the centuries, to numerous entertaining examples from our own times.

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