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Xenophobe's Guide to the English

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 ...

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Xenophobe's Guide to the English

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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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781906042295
  • Publisher: Oval Books
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Series: Xenophobe's Guide
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 92
  • Sales rank: 741,322
  • Product dimensions: 4.30 (w) x 6.80 (h) x 0.40 (d)

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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Read an Excerpt

The Xenophobe's Guide to the English


By Miall, Antony

Oval Books

Copyright © 1999 Miall, Antony
All right reserved.

ISBN: 1902825268

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.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from The Xenophobe's Guide to the English by Miall, Antony Copyright © 1999 by Miall, Antony. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Nationalism and Identity 5
Character 11
Attitudes and Values 14
Behaviour 21
Manners and Etiquette 25
Customs and Tradition 28
Sense of Humour 31
Leisure and Pleasure 34
Obsessions 39
Eating and Drinking 43
Health and Hygiene 46
Culture 48
Systems 51
Crime and Punishment 53
Government and Bureaucracy 55
Business 58
Language 60
Conversation 61
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