Guards of Brexit?
Revisiting the cultural significance of the white cliffs of Dover
in The road to Brexit
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In the build-up to the EU referendum in 2016, the white cliffs of Dover loomed large over a debate crucially driven by concerns over immigration. This chapter discusses the problematic legacy of the cliffs as a key symbol of British insular exceptionalism and (racially) exclusive identities, with a focus on how travel accounts have both constructed and challenged the powerful symbolism of the white cliffs of the mind. The chapter discusses travel accounts by H.V. Morton, Christopher Isherwood, Jonathan Raban, Caryl Phillips and Jamaica Kincaid. Looking beyond the cliffs towards the English Channel as a space of cultural contact and exchange, this chapter argues for a broader and more inclusive perception of Britain’s national border.

The road to Brexit

A cultural perspective on British attitudes to Europe

Editor: Ina Habermann

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