John Betjeman

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Dennis Brown

The book reassesses the work of England's favourite poet by bringing contemporary literary theory to bear on his unique gifts of lyricism, irony and empathy.

Description: Sir John Betjeman remains the most popular English poet of today. He has been termed a 'national teddy bear', and some commentary has addressed his work in rather such terms. However, it is evident that most of his key themes the spirit of place (or 'place-myth'), mundane lives ('petit récits') or historical continuity (the presence of the past) have specific relevance to postmodern and, especially, environmental concerns. Dennis Brown's book assesses Betjeman's contribution in the light of this, emphasising its ironic self-reflexivity, its rendering of Englishness and a 'soft' masculinity, and its ecumenical Christian tolerance. The popularity of Betjeman's lyrics, and his verse-autobiography Summoned by Bells, is considered as indicative of Britain's post-imperial self-revaluation. It is shown how the poet's technique offers an accessible alternative to more complex neo-modernist poetics. Overall, the book stresses Betjeman's contemporaneity, and his relevance to an era of contingency, irony, and solidarity.


..Brown argues in a lucid and bold fashion

                   Years Work in English Studies


Author: Brown, Dennis

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