A MIRROR FOR ANGLO-SAXONS by Martin Green

A MIRROR FOR ANGLO-SAXONS

By
Email this review

KIRKUS REVIEW

This book, which had its partial genesis as a series of articles which appeared in Harper's Magazine and some of the little reviews, has in spite of its separate origins a definite continuity of theme and intent. So that while it began as a presentation of some ""home thoughts from abroad and vice versa"", when Green was teaching here in 1955, it is more properly a cultural perspective of England today as seen by an unquiet Englishman and not the expected Britisher's view of his country cousins. For America, while unformed and undeveloped as she appears to some, has for Green the vigor of a real democracy and a viable spontaneity and originality. While in his looking glass, the Englishman, governess reared and gentleman bred, is effete in his elegance- ""the best blood is fatally thinned"". Green's criticisms are largely directed at this gentleman tradition with its ""geneological guarantee""; at the concepts of class and correctness with its snob and snub affectations; at the artificiality and archaism of ""Merrie England and madrigals and warming pans""; and at a culture which is dead with Waugh and Greene its rearguard survivors. Only in Lawrence and Orwell and today in Kingsley Amis (if much more so in America's Salinger) is there any evidence of a more dynamic, middle class life force emerging from her cultural cul de sac..... A discussion piece which is somewhat limited in its argument- and illustrations- but it is thoughtful and concerned and stimulating.

Pub Date: Sept. 14th, 1960
Publisher: Harper