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Peter Ackroyd's Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination PDF

By Peter Ackroyd

ISBN-10: 0307424650

ISBN-13: 9780307424655

Together with his attribute enthusiasm and erudition, Peter Ackroyd follows his acclaimed London: A Biography with an encouraged look at the center and the heritage of the English mind's eye. to inform the tale of its evolution, Ackroyd levels throughout literature and portray, philosophy and technological know-how, structure and tune, from Anglo-Saxon instances to the twentieth-century. contemplating what's such a lot English approximately artists as varied as Chaucer, William Hogarth, Benjamin Britten and Viriginia Woolf, Ackroyd identifies a bunch of occasionally contradictory components: pragmatism and whimsy, blood and gore, a fondness for the prior, a have fun with eccentricity, and masses extra. an excellent, enticing and infrequently marvelous narrative, Albion reveals the manifold nature of English genius.

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On the contrary, its mature formulation was very much a product of the Elizabethan age; a reworking of traditional universalistic concepts of the social order in the light of the English experience of the sixteenth century; part and parcel of that heightening of national self-awareness which W. G. Hoskins dubbed 'the discovery of England'< Nor was it necessarily so all-pervasive and exclusive a perception 30 The Middling SMt oj People of the social order as is often assumed. For though there can be no doubt that it was widely accepted and routinely adopted as an appropriate model for the conceptualisation of the social order, one which exerted its influence throughout the seventeenth and deep into the eighteenth century, there is also reason to believe that it was, none the less, limited in both its currency and its significance.

As for the 'meaner sort of people' themselves, they were said to threaten disorders over high prices and against aliens in London in 1586. In Essex they were held to be extraordinarily ignorant of 36 The Middling Sort of People religious doctrine. Throughout the kingdom they apparently bore the brunt of suffering in times of dearth and plague. They were regarded as inappropriate persons for enrolment in the trained bands of the county militias in the 1620s, an unsuitability confirmed by their alleged prominence in riots against fenland drainage in the 1630s, and in London in 1663 they were supposedly distinguished by their 'undutifulnesse and contempt of their superiours, especially the Nobility and Gentry of the Kingdome' .

In Essex they were held to be extraordinarily ignorant of 36 The Middling Sort of People religious doctrine. Throughout the kingdom they apparently bore the brunt of suffering in times of dearth and plague. They were regarded as inappropriate persons for enrolment in the trained bands of the county militias in the 1620s, an unsuitability confirmed by their alleged prominence in riots against fenland drainage in the 1630s, and in London in 1663 they were supposedly distinguished by their 'undutifulnesse and contempt of their superiours, especially the Nobility and Gentry of the Kingdome' .

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Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination by Peter Ackroyd


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