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Identity and belonging at the edge of England

In 2020 the convergence of Brexit, COVID-19 and the ‘migrant crisis’ put Kent in the headlines as never before: images of refugees on beaches, lorries queued on the county’s motorways and the white cliffs of Dover crumbling into the sea were all used to support claims that severing ties with the EU was the best – or worst – thing the UK had ever done. In this coastal driftwork, Phil Hubbard considers the past, present and future of this corner of England, alighting on the key sites which symbolise the changing relationship between the UK and its continental neighbours. Moving from the geopolitics of the Channel Tunnel to the cultivation of oysters at Whitstable, from Derek Jarman’s celebrated garden at Dungeness to the art-fuelled gentrification of Margate, Borderland bridges geography, history and cultural studies to show how ideas of national identity and belonging take shape at the coast. In doing so, the author argues that the ongoing crises of global displacement, climate change and ecological disaster require an expansive geographical imagination, with the current fixation on the sovereignty of our national borders appearing increasingly futile at a time of rapid global change.

Tracing an insular riddle topos on both sides of the English Channel
Mercedes Salvador-Bello

of riddles that took place on both sides of the English Channel, as I intend to do in this chapter. In order to illustrate how dynamic this cultural interplay was, I focus on a particular riddlic topos that seems to have been of special interest to insular authors: the personification of Wisdom as a nursemaid breastfeeding her numerous offspring. 4 Taking the Sapientia enigma found in Pseudo-Bede’s Collectanea as a starting point, I analyse several versions of this motif, which probably has its roots in Hiberno-Latin literature. As this chapter aims to show

in Riddles at work in the early medieval tradition
Rowland Wymer

In May 1987, using some of the money inherited from his father, Jarman had bought a small fisherman’s cottage by the sea at Dungeness, the bleak and windswept shingle bank which projects into the English Channel from Romney Marsh in Kent, and is home to a large nuclear power station. Despite the unceasing salt winds and the lack of suitable soil, he succeeded in creating a garden of considerable beauty

in Derek Jarman
Yulia Ryzhik

revolts demanded attention: the Spanish threatened Ireland to a degree more terrifying than we usually remember, for example. Living there, Spenser also observed, with interest, alarm, or grief, not only events in that battered country but also those across the English Channel, especially those involving England itself. Elizabeth’s unfulfilled plan to marry the much younger Duc d’Alençon, who after his brother’s death had become the Duc d’Anjou and in line to inherit the French throne, dismayed him. The Queen fondly called the Prince her ‘frog’ (although that nickname

in Spenser and Donne
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Revisiting the cultural significance of the white cliffs of Dover
Melanie Küng

truly multicultural Britain, in which there is no longer a dominant cultural group. He argues that it was these early West Indian immigrants ‘who helped to introduce Britain to the notion of postcoloniality’ and that it will be their descendants ‘who will help Britain cross the Rubicon of the English Channel and enter the European age of the twenty-first century’ (Phillips, 2002 : 282). And yet, Kincaid’s angry and despairing tone and Phillips’s hopeful and insistent tone are themselves signs of the immense struggle for a new narrative. As several critics have

in The road to Brexit
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Masculinity, sexuality and exploration in the Argonaut story of Kingsley’s The Heroes
Helen Lovatt

Argonauts home There are many different ways that Kingsley could bring the Argonauts home, but both he and Morris choose routes that go into the far north, passing through the English Channel and evoking a strong connection with the geographical identity of their readers, young and old. Both Kingsley and Morris represent the Argonauts as explorers and flirt with the idea of them coming home to Britain. 72 The ancient versions of the Argonautica take various different routes: back through the now

in Pasts at play
Australian Voyages, c. 1815-1860

During the nineteenth century, over 1.5 million migrants set sail from the British Isles to begin new lives in the Australian colonies. This book follows these people on a fascinating journey around half the globe to give a rich account of the creation of lay and professional medical knowledge in an ever-changing maritime environment. It shows how voyages to Australia partook of colonialism. On leaving the ports, estuaries, and harbours of Britain and Ireland, ships' captains negotiated the adverse winds of the English Channel and the Irish Sea before steering into the Atlantic and heading south-by-south west across the heavy swells of the Bay of Biscay. The book dwells in the tropics, where the experience of calms reinforced and extended preconceptions about the coast of West Africa. It discusses convicts, showing how scurvy became resurgent as British prison committees steadily reduced prison dietary rations during the 1820s and 1830s. Despite their frustrations, the isolation of the ocean and the vulnerability of convicts' bodies offered surgeons an invaluable opportunity for medical experimentation during the 1840s. The book also shows how a series of questions about authority, class, gender, and social status mediated medical relationships as the pressures of the voyage accumulated. Themes of mistrust, cooperation, and coercion emerged in many different ways during the voyage. Australia, where, as emigrants became immigrants, the uncertainties of government responsibility combined with a poisonous political atmosphere to raise questions about eligibility and the conditions of admittance to their new colonial society.

Editors: and

This collection of nine new chapters investigates how the late medieval household acts as a sorter, user, and disseminator of different kinds of ready information, from the traditional and authoritative to the innovative and newly made. Building on established work on the noble and royal ‘great household’, as well as on materialist historiography on rural and bourgeois domestic life, Household Knowledges considers bourgeois, gentry, and collegiate households on both sides of the English Channel. Arguing that the relationship between the domestic experience and the forms assumed by that experience’s cultural expression is both dynamic and reciprocal, the chapters in this volume address a range of cultural productions, including conduct texts, romances and comic writing, agricultural and estates management literature, devotional and medical writing, household music and drama, and manuscript anthologies. Contributors develop a range of methodologies, drawing on insights generated by recent manuscript scholarship as well as on innovations in affect theory and object relations theory; their chapters reconsider the constitution of the late-medieval urban and gentry home by practices of writing and reading, translation and language use, and manuscript compilation, as well as by the development of complex object–human relations and the adaptation of traditional gender and class roles. Together, the studies compiled in Household Knowledges provide a fresh illustration of the imaginative scope of the late medieval household, of its extensive internal and external connections, and of its fundamental centrality—both as an idea and a reality—to late-medieval cultural production.

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A cultural perspective on British attitudes to Europe

This timely collection explores British attitudes to continental Europe that explain the Brexit decision. Analysing British discourses of Europe and the impact of British Euroscepticism, the book argues that Britain’s exit from the European Union reflects a more general cultural rejection of continental Europe: Britain is in denial about the strength of its ties to Europe and needs to face Europe if it is to face the future. The volume brings together literary and cultural studies, history, and political science in an integrated analysis of views and practices that shape cultural memory and the cultural imaginary. Part I, ‘Britain and Europe: political entanglements’, traces the historical and political relationship between Britain and Europe and the place of Europe in recent British political debates while Part II, ‘British discourses of Europe in literature and film’, is devoted to representative case studies of films as well as popular Eurosceptic and historical fiction. Part III, ‘Negotiating borders in British travel writing and memoir’, engages with border mindedness and the English Channel as a contact zone, also including a Gibraltarian point of view. Given the crucial importance of literature in British discourses of national identity, the book calls for, and embarks on, a Euro-British literary studies that highlights the nature and depth of the British-European entanglement.

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Karen Throsby

construction of authenticity. Brittany King On 8 October 2012, Shape magazine published a blog posting as part of its ‘Motivation Monday’ series under the headline: ‘Meet the woman who swam the English Channel’ (Nuñez 2012). The blog post tells the story of twenty-nine-year-old Texas veterinarian, Brittany King, who attempted a solo English Channel crossing in September 2012. In question and answer format, King’s narrative is one of hard training leading up to the swim, and brutal suffering during the event itself, all framed within the project of raising money for an animal

in Immersion