The Origins of the English Imagination
Peter Ackroyd follows LONDON: THE BIOGRAPHY with a book which is equally original and even more magnificent in scope.
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.