Highly original and magnificent in scope, Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination discovers the roots of English cultural history in the Anglo-Saxon period, and traces it through the centuries.
From Beowulf and the Venerable Bede through King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table to Tolkein's LORD OF THE RINGS; from Chaucer through Shakespeare to Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters; from Purcell to Vaughan Williams, Hogarth to Turner; from mystery plays and lives of the saints through music hall to pantomime - Peter Ackroyd's favourite themes are there- visionary poetry, theatrical novels, fantastical travel books; English paths in the English landscape, the sound of the sea in English music; the overlapping of myth with reality, fiction with non-fiction - and there are also explorations of forgery and plagiarism; Romanticism and autobiography; translation and assimilation; ruins and antiquarianism.; the English love of miniatures, drag acts and eccentrics; and the English predilection for understatement and embarrassment. As he did in London, Peter Ackroyd leads the reader through a labyrinth. This will be one of the most exciting and exuberant books to be published in 2002.
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning historian, biographer, novelist, poet and broadcaster. He is the author of the acclaimed non-fiction bestsellers London: The Biography, Thames: Sacred River and London Under; biographies of figures including Charles Dickens, William Blake, Charlie Chaplin and Alfred Hitchcock; and a multi-volume history of England. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award and the South Bank Prize for Literature. He holds a CBE for services to literature.
"This is much more than history; it is a tapestry of inspiration and love" The Guardian "One cannot but marvel at Ackroyd's erudition, his energy in marshallin g minutiae, his ear for quotation, his flair for dazzling juxtapositions, his vibrant imagination and sheer exuberance" The Times "Ackroyd covers not only literature but art, architecture, music and almost everything else that has passed through the minds of the English...just one damn interesting thing after another" Sunday Times
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