Highly original and magnificent in scope, Ackroyd's latest work discovers the roots of English cultural history in the Anglo-Saxon period, and traces it through the centuries.What does it mean to be English?
This dazzling book demonstrates that a quintessentially English quality can be discovered in all forms of English culture, not only in literature but also in painting, music, architecture, philosophy and science.
Just as "London: The Biography" guided the reader through the capital city with a mixture of narrative and theme, so "Albion", employing the same techniques, engages the reader with stories and surprises - from Beowulf to King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, via Chaucer and Shakespeare, to the Bronte sisters, 'Alice through the Looking Glass' and 'Lord of the Rings'. "Albion" moves from medieval mystery plays to music hall and pantomime; painting is here, with Hogarth and Turner; and music, with Purcell and Vaughan Williams.
Even the English obsession with gardening is represented.
Witty, provocative and anecdotal, this is Peter Ackroyd at his most brilliant and exuberant.