By Ian Buruma
"Imaginative, original--wittily written."--The Washington submit booklet World
To a few, England has lengthy represented tolerance, cause, and political moderation. To others, it's a moribund bastion of snobbery and superseded culture. during this full of life and diverting social background, famous writer Ian Buruma, himself the son of Dutch immigrants to England, offers an incisive examine anglophilia--and anglophobia--over the final centuries.
From passionate fanatics like Voltaire and Goethe, to exiles like Garibaldi and Herzen, to colourful England-bashers like Napoleon, Marx, and Kaiser Wilhelm II, Anglomania offers a sharply satirical account of Europe's occasionally comical, occasionally lethal prejudices, and explains why England's individuality and her dating with Europe remains to be extremely important as we input the twenty-first century.
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Extra info for Anglomania: A European Love Affair
A few generals, admirals and very successful lawyers were ennobled, but their social connections were usually impeccable. Otherwise, a regular route of advance to the English peerage was laid down: ownership of a large country estate sufficient to sustain a peer's dignity; a prestigious seat in Parliament; a baronetcy; an Irish peerage; and, finally, an English one. But it was often slow progress, requiring frequent application to the King and his ministers. They pondered hard (often longer about peerage claims than over much more pressing issues), their deliberations creating enormous interest amongst the chattering political elite.
The Heacham estate was sold by the Rolfes in the 1900s, the house pulled down forty years later. The fate of these two families underlines the diversity amongst the landowning class in terms of their wealth as much as of their origins. The relative difference between the income of the Westminsters and the Rolfes by the late nineteenth century was far greater than that between the duke's most prosperous tenant farmer and his most indigent agricultural labourer. And this, of course, in large measure explains the remarkable variety of country houses which Vita Sackville-West commented upon during the Second World War.
Marrying in 1740 a London mercantile heiress with £40,000, and possessing an income of about £10,000 a year after he succeeded in 1752, he threw himself into building, politics and pleasure with great vigour. Claydon, with the finest suite of rococo rooms in England, is a monument to his folly, gullibility and extravagance (Plate 9). A man of 'magnificent instincts, great artistic taste and THE BUILDERS OF THE ENGLISH COUNTRY HOUSE PLATE 9. Claydon House, Buckinghamshire. Detail of chimney-piece and niches in the north hall.
Anglomania: A European Love Affair by Ian Buruma