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The question of 'Englishness'

What constituted ‘Englishness’ in the late 19th century, and what are the most fundamental differences with ‘Englishness’ today?
Sociology Essay

  • Assessment: Sociology Essay
  • Mark: A
  • Year: 2007
  • Wordcount: 3201

Excerpt:
Debates over what it means to be English have taken place throughout English history. Being English today differs from being English in the late 19th century because “the ideas that informed the dominant conceptions of what was involved in ‘being English’ changed over the period” (Giles and Middleton 1995: 6). This essay aims to isolate the most significant differences between 19th and 20th century notions of ‘Englishness’. Since ‘Englishness’ has to be seen in close relation with class and gender, I will focus on the impact of the changes within these two areas in the first part of the essay. In the second part of the argument I will specifically analyse the ways in which ‘Englishness’ is rooted in 19th century Imperialism and will draw attention to the effects of the collapse of the Empire on today’s notions of ‘Englishness’. My argument will be supported by several cultural examples from 19th and 20th century literature. Literature can be seen as a “signifier of national identity and heritage” (During 2006: 138) and as such the used literary examples provide evidence that cultural representations of ‘Englishness’ draw from a generally constant stock of adapted and reworked images, ideas and beliefs.

full text:
file: Englishness_essay_MelanieKonzett.pdf [131.85KB]
Category: History
download: 5842


The British atomic bomb programme

The McMahon Act and its effects on Britain’s decision for an independent atomic programme
History Essay

  • Assessment: History Essay
  • Mark: A
  • Year: 2007
  • Wordcount: 4322

Excerpt:
During and after 1946, the wartime alliance between Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union began to break down. Already shortly after the war, but particularly with the Berlin Blockade in 1948, the Soviet Union was accepted as the ‘enemy’ and Western Europe was regarded as the area of future conflicts. In September 1945, the Chiefs of Staff estimated that the Soviet Union was to be ready for this major war in the mid 1950s. As a consequence, one principal objective for the policy makers was the preparation of Britain’s forces to encounter this threat.
With the detonations of the American atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, it was clear that this bomb was the weapon of the future. The atomic bomb was superior to everything known hitherto and became “a symbol of great power and no state could risk being left without one” . In addition, it was originally believed that the bomb would result in reduction of the defence costs because it would replace manpower and other conventional military resources. In this sense, the atomic bomb transformed the nature of war and consequently the defence policies of Britain and several other countries. This is highlighted in the report on ‘Future development in Weapons and Methods of War’ by Henry Tizard, which states “if atomic energy can be released explosively, the character of war, the size and composition of military forces, and the scope of armament production will be completely changed” .
During the war Britain stood in close co-operation with the United States concerning nuclear development…

Full text:
file: Atomicbombpolicy_essay_Melanie Konzett.pdf []
Category:
download: 5874


Past and Present in Gothic Writing

One of the persistent concerns of Gothic is the relationship between the past and the present. Isolate and discuss two different treatments of this topic in Gothic literature or film.
Literature Essay

  • Assessment: Literature Essay
  • Mark: A
  • Year: 2007
  • Wordcount: 2176

Excerpt:
In the eighteenth century many writers and readers regarded their contemporary present as ‘modern’ and enlightened and favoured a realist literature. As a consequence, Walpole (1986: 43) argues in his second Preface to The Castle of Otranto, “the great resources of fancy have been dammed up”; or to put it in Clery’s (2006: 27) words “what the modern era had gained in civility it had lost in poetic imagination”. One way to bring life back into the culture of this time was to re-establish the connections with a barbaric, mythical and unenlightened age. In particular, the Gothic age with its name referring to the Goths , was seen by contemporary readers and authors as a time of barbarism that “stood for the old-fashioned as opposed to the modern; the barbaric as opposed to the civilised; crudity as opposed to elegance; old English barons as opposed to the cosmopolitan gentry” (Punter 1996: 5). These and similar characteristics of a forgotten age became “invested with positive value” and were perceived as “representing virtues and qualities that the ‘modern’ world needed” (Punter and Byron 2006: 7).
The aim of this paper is both, to locate and compare the relationship of the past and the present in Horace Walpole’s Castle of Otranto and Ann Radcliffe’s The Romance of the Forest, but also to investigate the ambivalent nature of this relationship. Since the Gothic is by definition “about history and geography” (Mighall 1999: xiv), I will highlight the significance of the feudal and catholic past for early Gothic writing in analysing the texts’ settings and the authors’ use of the supernatural. In doing so, I will show that, on the one hand, the past was idealised but on the other hand, also served as the barbaric ‘Other’ to the enlightened present. Hence, this essay engages with one of the underlying questions of some early Gothic texts asking “which is darker, the murky past or an apparently enlightened present”? (Cavallaro 2002: 39).

Full text:
file: PastPresent_Gothic.pdf []
Category:
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