Englishness and National Culture by Antony Easthorpe

By Antony Easthorpe

During this hugely attractive booklet, Antony Easthope examines 'Englishness' as a kind and a sequence of shared discourses. Discussing the topic of 'nation' - a growing to be region in literary and cultural reports - Easthope deals polemical arguments written in a full of life and obtainable type. Englishness and nationwide tradition asserts a profound and unacknowledged continuity among the 17th century and at the present time. It argues that modern reporters, historians, novelists, poets and comedians proceed to talk throughout the voice of a long-standing empiricist culture.

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Through a process by which other feelings not compatible with this ideal are disavowed and projected on to an Oriental Other. Other writers have followed Said’s precedent in showing how, behind our backs, discourse acts as bearer of identity. Gates provides a major instance from discursive forms which were officially condemned and yet were actually transformed and transmitted into Modern English, a language different from those in which they originated. In The Signifying Monkey Gates argues for a continuity between forms of discourse from what is now known as West Africa and contemporary African-American rituals, linguistic practices, performative speech patterns and writing, specifically in the tradition of ‘Signifyin(g)’.

12, italics original), a nation imagining itself as an absolute and undivided self-presence (this is one reason why Derrida remarks elsewhere ‘there is no nationality or nationalism that is not religious or mythological, let us say “mystical” in the broad sense’, 1994, p. 91). The unity which nation, on this showing, conceives itself to be is impossible. Within the register of philosophic discourse (more or less) Derrida could refer the impossibility of any such self-presence to the priority of difference as its condition of existence.

74). NATIONAL DESIRE 43 As Eric Hobsbawm declares, nation ‘is a social entity only insofar as it relates to a certain kind of modern territorial state, the “nation-state”, and it is pointless to discuss nation and nationalism except insofar as both relate to it’ (1992, pp. 9–10), pointless because any cultural grouping might claim to be a nation but would not be recognised as such unless it achieved state and territorial realisation. For over two centuries the organisation of groups and collectivities into nations has spread across the globe.

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