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Writers, Readers, and ReputationsLiterary Life in Britain 1870-1918$
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Philip Waller

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780199541201

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199541201.001.0001

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English Literature’s Foreign Relations; or, ‘’E dunno où il est!’ *

English Literature’s Foreign Relations; or, ‘’E dunno où il est!’ *

(p.279) 7 English Literature’s Foreign Relations; or, ‘’E dunno où il est!’*
Writers, Readers, and Reputations

Philip Waller (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

This chapter addresses a peculiarity of ‘English Literature’: that so many of its better known writers were un-English by birthplace, by parentage, by marriage, or by having spent some influential period abroad. ‘English Literature’ was perpetually absorbing foreign influences. The mix began with the home countries, from the fusion of dialect cultures as in Tennyson's combination of Lincolnshire and standard English or the multiple authors of Irish, Scots, and Welsh origin. In many cases, this was then interwoven with impressions acquired from different parts of the British Empire and the rest of the world, in which the Mediterranean led as the centre of classical antiquity. Motives for travel and/or residence are analysed, including for reasons of employment, economy, health, cultural aspiration, entertainment, adventure, and heterosexual/homosexual licence. Numerous authors are featured here: from Grant Allen and Joseph Conrad, to Jerome K. Jerome and Charlotte M. Yonge. How profoundly they were affected is questioned; for most, impressions formed at home and from familiarity with other English literature remained paramount.

Keywords:   english literature, travel, mediterranean, empire

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