The English idiom

Arthur Aughey

in The Politics of Englishness

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print April 2007 | ISBN: 9780719068720
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781701300 | DOI:
The English idiom

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This chapter provides an account of the historic strengths and weaknesses of what is called the English idiom, based on E.P. Thompson's essay ‘The Peculiarities of the English’. It explains Thompson's argument that England is unlikely to capitulate before a Marxism which cannot at least engage in a dialogue in the English idiom. The chapter contends that there are powerful survivals of self-understanding in the case of Englishness which continue to inform contemporary national identity, and that they have a future as well as a past. It suggests that it is the interpenetration of changing circumstances and idiomatic continuity which sets the tone of contemporary understanding of Englishness.

Keywords: English idiom; E.P. Thompson; Peculiarities of English; Marxism; self-understanding; national identity; idiomatic continuity

Chapter.  9133 words. 

Subjects: UK Politics

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