Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen turned into bouillon cubes.

John LeCarre

A History of Scotland

Tác giả: Neil Oliver
Thể loại: Lịch Sử
Language: English
Giới thiệu

From Publishers Weekly

Even a writer as popular, prolific and inventive as Ackroyd can concoct a bore. Nevertheless, Albion is likely to succeed on his considerable reputation and the success of his bestselling London: The Biography. Here Ackroyd seeks to define and describe what he sees as distinctive qualities of the English imagination as they have developed since the country's beginnings. Quoting the 17th-century Richard Burton's The Anatomy of Melancholy, he claims a cultural continuity-"we weave the same web still, twist the same rope again and again." But the Englishman, as Daniel Defoe remarked, and Ackroyd concedes, remained infinitely adaptable, having already assimilated waves of invasion and conquest-and become "Roman-Saxon-Danish-Norman-English." Explaining that "mungrell" mingling in 53 thematic chapters, Ackroyd appropriates nearly every quality in literature and the arts for England (largely ignoring Ireland and downplaying Scotland). He cites love of gardens, worship of trees, cultivation of dream-visionaries, affection for eccentricity, affinity for morbid sensationalism, attraction to understatement, pleasure in alliteration, fondness for cross-dressing, passion for antiquarianism, ease with an empirical temper, relish for detective and ghost stories, penchant for portrait miniatures, creative adaptation of folksong. It is a sentimental stretch. Where London was animated by a brilliant exploitation of anecdote, Albion lacks its verve. Rather, it is armed with a goodly-and defensive-helping of "It has often been said," "it might even be said," "It is no surprise, either, that," and often bogs down in bland thesis and empty persuasion. Yet vastly learned and frequently engaging, it may prove good bedtime reading-a veritable night school. B&w and color illus. not seen by PW.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Following the triumph of London: A Biography (2001), Ackroyd confidently and entertainingly delves into a far more elusive aspect of the English experience, the origins of England's distinctive, widely influential imagination. Albion is an ancient name for the island as well as for the primeval giant who made it his home, a clue to the two primary characteristics Ackroyd discusses in this marvelous synthesis: the deeply rooted connection between the English and their land and a reverence for the past. Ackroyd begins by discussing how trees became sacred symbols of life and continuity, and, as he does with each ensuing subject, whether it's the sea, stones, rain, gardens, music, painting, or ghosts, he presents a cascade of evocative examples, keenly interpreting various artists, composers, and dozens of writers, including Chaucer, Blake, Wordsworth, Shakespeare, Austen, and J. R. R. Tolkien. The English imagination is stoked by visions and leavened with wit, Ackroyd avers, forming not a linear progression but, rather, a shining circle that leads back to the "original sources of inspiration," be they Celtic, classical, or Christian. A master extrapolator and wonderfully epigrammatic stylist fluent in many disciplines, Ackroyd has created a key to English creativity past, present, and future. Donna Seaman
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