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Literature and UnionScottish Texts, British Contexts$
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Gerard Carruthers and Colin Kidd

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198736233

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198736233.001.0001

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A. G. MacDonell’s England, their England

A. G. MacDonell’s England, their England

Chapter:
(p.305) 14 A. G. MacDonell’s England, their England
Source:
Literature and Union
Author(s):

Brian Young

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198736233.003.0014

England, their England, a now forgotten bestseller, was one of a series of travelogues produced by survivors of the First World War during the 1930s in a country recovering its sense of purpose and identity; unusually, in this case it took the form of an autobiographical novel. A. G. MacDonell was an insider/outsider, a Scottish Wykehamist, a journalist and a partisan Liberal writing with astringent wit about the fusion of reactionary, self-serving Toryism and unprincipled Socialism that underpinned the National Government quietly pilloried throughout the book. He also glances disapprovingly at colonialism, both internal and external, as he berates a nation that has lost its sense of diplomatic purpose. A bucolic work, hovering uneasily between sentimentalism and satire, it insists that the real England is that of the shires (and particularly country cricket). But MacDonell’s strongest work was the much less pleasing Autobiography of a Cad, which merits reassessment accordingly.

Keywords:   sportsmanship, public-school ethos, internal colonialism, external colonialism, journalism, Liberal politics, bucolic elegy

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