The English Companion: An Idiosyncratic A-Z of England and Englishness by Godfrey Smith lands on the |> SALE <| shelves in my shop.
Pavilion, 1984, Hardback in dust wrapper.
From the cover: THE ENGLISH COMPANION is an attempt to give coherent form to that great body of arcane and eccentric knowledge which every Englishman carries in his head, but which can be found in no one reference book. It is compiled in an A to Z of notes ranging from a few lines to a page. It is important in this world to be pushing, said the great Oxford professor Benjamin Jowett, but it is fatal to seem so. That really sums up the English view on ambition, and no more on it is said. Not all subjects can be dismissed so succinctly, and entries range from bangers to barmaids, from picnics to Proms, from Jaguars to Johnson (Samuel), from autumn to apples.
The intention is to entertain as well as to inform. Is the national character changing? Or is it the perception of England which changes? As time has passed, old stereotypes have been upended: England, once the richest nation, now only ranks fifteenth; and far from being considered cold fish, were rapidly acquiring the reputation of being one of the randiest races on earth. Some things never change though: a daunting philistinism, a shaky grip on hygiene, an obsession with animals, a penchant for gambling, a gift for gardens, a passion for sports and a huge sense of humour.
Godfrey Smiths compilation is both witty and stylish, but even in his most waspish comments it is possible to sense his profound fondness for all things English. A marvellous read for all Anglophiles, the Companion is an intriguing bedside book where the foibles and predilections of the English are unmasked at last.
Very Good in Good Dust Wrapper. Dust wrapper heavily faded at the spine and onto the margins of the panels. Text complete, clean and tight.
Red boards with Gilt titling to the Spine. 272 pages. Index. 9½” x 6¼”.
This book will be eventually reach my delightful website…(added to my Social History category.) but get 60% off buying from this very blog blog… Buy it now for just £2.60 + P&P! Of course, if you don’t like this one there are plenty more available here!