Xenophobe's Guide to the English

Xenophobe's Guide to the English

by Antony Miall, David Milsted
     
 

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Never overstep the mark

Moderation—a treasured ideal—means a lot to the English. Their respect for it is reflected in their shared dislike of any person who “goes too far.”

 

Irrational rationality

The English can admire something without enjoying it, or enjoy something they suspect is fundamentally

Overview

Never overstep the mark

Moderation—a treasured ideal—means a lot to the English. Their respect for it is reflected in their shared dislike of any person who “goes too far.”

 

Irrational rationality

The English can admire something without enjoying it, or enjoy something they suspect is fundamentally reprehensible. You can never be sure which stance they are going to take—the reassuringly reasonable, or the wildly irrational.

 

I'm fine, really

Stoicism, the capacity to greet life's vicissitudes with cheerful calm, is an essential ingredient of Englishness.

 

Push-me, pull-you

Two equally fundamental but contradictory English characteristics are a love of continuity and a yearning for change. In the English character these two opposite desires vie with each other constantly, which produces some curious behavior patterns and several characteristics most usually observed in the classic split personality.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781906042295
Publisher:
Oval Books
Publication date:
04/01/2008
Series:
Xenophobe's Guide
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
92
Sales rank:
1,274,422
Product dimensions:
4.30(w) x 6.80(h) x 0.40(d)

Read an Excerpt

Never overstep the mark
Moderation
a treasured ideal
means a lot to the English. Their respect for it is reflected in their shared dislike of any person who 'goes too far'.

Irrational rationality
The English can admire something without enjoying it, or enjoy something they suspect is fundamentally reprehensible. You can never be sure which stance they are going to take
the reassuringly reasonable, or the wildly irrational.

I'm fine, really
Stoicism, the capacity to greet life's vicissitudes with cheerful calm, is an essential ingredient of Englishness.

Push-me, pull-you
Two equally fundamental but contradictory English characteristics are a love of continuity and a yearning for change. In the English character these two opposite desires vie with each other constantly, which produces some curious behaviour patterns and several characteristics most usually observed in the classic split personality.

Meet the Author

Antony Miall was born in the Lake District but migrated south at the age of nine months. He spent his childhood in Royal Tunbridge Wells where he had ample opportunity to observe the English at their most characteristic.

Apart from a brief spell in an educational establishment in one of the northern home counties, he has spent his life safely south of the Thames within easy reach of the South of France. This suits him very well because he has never quite qualified in Englishness. Among the subjects he is unable to get to grips with are discomfort and moderation.

In addition to shopping, his enthusiasms include playing the piano better than he thought he could. He also enjoys seeing his name in print and has written several books on Victorian songs and society. Now a public relations consultant, his clients have included the manufacturer of water beds for convalescent dogs.

Once happily married, he is now just happily in Wandsworth, has one daughter, three cats and a very significant other.

David Milsted, a typically mongrel Englishman (in his case, one-quarter Scots with trace elements of Viking), was born in Sussex in 1954 and subsequently drifted northwards, eventually spending 15 years on various Scottish islands before relocating, more or less accidentally, in Dorset, where he and his four sons constitute a 0.75% typical English family.

A former teacher, fireman and postman, he is now a full-time writer, researcher and editor who makes occasional forays into broadcasting, the theatre, and the strangely beautiful world of corporate malt whisky tasting. He has published four novels and a number of other books, the latest being TheCassell Dictionary of Regrettable Quotations.

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