Voltaire's coconuts, or, Anglomania in Europe


Voltaire's coconuts, or, Anglomania in Europe

Ian Buruma

Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1999


Voltaire's coconuts or Anglomania in Europe

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Includes bibliographical references (Sources: p. [307]-314) and index



Voltaire's Coconuts is a wonderfully engaging and witty combination of history and biography which looks at how Europeans have been fascinated by all that it means to be English. Dutch by birth, Buruma came to live in England in 1990 for the third time in his life and noticed a new mood of introspection. Englishness was a subject of endless discussion. Fox hunting was debated, loyalty to English cricket a hot issue, and the future of the monarchy rarely out of the news. This worrying over Englishness resulted, in Buruma's words, 'in great balls of intellectual wool', obscuring the more practical reasons why Europeans have admired (or hated) Britain in the past: its liberal institutions, its civil liberties, its delicate balance between social order and the free pursuit of self-interest. In this brilliant and elegantly written book Buruma examines these ideas about Englishness and what Europeans admired or loathed about Britain. Voltaire wondered why British laws could not be p lanted in France, or even Serbia, like the precious seeds of coconut trees. Karl Marx thought the English were too stupid to start a revolution; Goethe worshipped Shakespeare; Baron de Coubertin's idea of the modern Olympic Games was inspired by Tom Brown's Schooldays; Theodor Herzl's dream of the Jewish state was fuelled by his love of British aristocracy; and the German Kaiser was convinced that Britain was run by Jews. Combining biographical stories of these European Anglophiles and Anglophobes with memories of his own Anglo-Dutch-German-Jewish family, Ian Buruma has found a wholly original way of describing the relationship between Britain and Europe. This is a dazzlingly clever book which through its exploration of anglomania shows how much Englishness and people's view of it has shaped modern Europe.

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  • ISBN
    • 0297643126
  • 出版国コード
  • タイトル言語コード
  • 本文言語コード
  • 出版地
  • ページ数/冊数
    326 p.
  • 大きさ
    23 cm
  • 分類
  • 件名