Sunday, October 03, 2010

Matter of England - A Canterbury Tale

Most of my Irish friends would better not read this post... I have been an anglophile since quite early childhood, strangely enough. Noel Streatfield, The Railway Children (oddly, our family seemed to specialice in classic English children's literature in our remote Southern Ostrobothnia of the 70's), only a bit later Rosemary Sutcliffe and Susan Cooper converted me before I even had encountered the English literary canon (which surely is one of the wonders of the world). Of course by an outsider anglophilia tends to be a romantic affair: for me England, even now, though not present day England, is the home of liberalism and reason, its literature the place where passion coheres with and is bounded by intellect. It certainly is, realistically, the place where my brand of middle way did historically originate. Of course it was only ever a part of the story, even if the best part, and has now mostly vanished anyway. The strange death of liberal England. I don't know why I should have been reminded of this and A Canterbury Tale and Emeric Pressburger this October morning. Perhaps it was the light of that magic movie in this foggy and relentlessly darkening and definitely un-English subarctic fall.

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