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216 × 138 × 25 mm
208 pages
10 Sep 2018

The Good Brexiteer’s Guide to English Lit John Sutherland

What is Nigel Farage’s favourite novel? Why do Brexiteers love Sherlock Holmes? Is Philip Larkin the best Brexit poet ever? Through the politically relevant side road of English literature, John Sutherland quarries the great literary minds of English history to assemble the ultimate reading list for Brexiteers.

What happened to Britain on 24 June 2016 shook the country to its roots. The Brexit vote changed Britain. But despite its referendum victory, Brexit is peculiarly hollow. It is an idea without political apparatus, without sustaining history, without field-tested ideology. Without thinkers. It is like Frankenstein's monster waiting for the lightning bolt. In this irreverent and entertaining new guide, Sutherland suggests some stuffing for the ideological cavity at the heart of the Brexit cause. He looks for nationalistic meaning in the work of William Shakespeare, Jane Austen and Thomas Hardy, in modern classics like The Queen and I and London Fields, and in the national anthem, school songs and great poetry of the country. Sutherland explores what Britain meant, means and will mean, and shows how great literary works have a shaping influence on the world.

Witty and insightful, and with a preface by John Crace, this book belongs on the shelves of all good Brexiteers and diehard Remoaners alike.

The Good Brexiteer’s Guide to English Lit . . . goes some way to explaining why Brexit can make fools of the cleverest people - as well as making fools of fools. . . . A diehard remainer, Sutherland has performed the ultimate sacrifice. He has given the Brexiters something they were never able to give themselves: a cultural and literary hinterland around which they can unite, and against which Brexit can be better understood.’ — John Crace

‘Sutherland developed this BrexLit survey as a curriculum for a Britain about to leave the EU. 'Brexit,' he writes, 'is an idea without political apparatus, without sustaining history, without field-tested ideology.' He’s here to remedy that by culling the canon for expressions of Englishness, 'that green and pleasant land,' that good Brexiteers revere: Shakespeare, Hardy, Orwell, and others (though not Dickens). This is the British academic’s umpteenth repackaging of his love of lit.’ — Toronto Star

‘Sutherland brings the entire literary canon into orbit around the political black hole. Is Blake's “Jerusalem” Brexity? (Sort of.) Is Kipling? (Not quite.) “Brexit” itself is an ugly word, especially when you hear it several times on every page, but since the rest of public life is lost in its vortex, why not literature too?’ — Daily Telegraph

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John Sutherland is Emeritus Lord Northcliffe Professor of Modern English Literature at University College London and the author of some thirty books, including A Little History of Literature (2013), How to be Well Read (2014) and Orwell’s Nose: A Pathological Biography (Reaktion, 2017). He is a reviewer and essayist for The Times.

Preface by John Crace

Battle of Maldon
Domesday Book Tattooed Heart Malory and King Arthur: The Literary Invention of England
The Literature of the People
The Bloudie CrosseThe Brexit Boadicea Boadicea in Stone
Enter the Maybot, Clanking
Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum: I Smell the Blood of an Englishman!
Shakespeare: ‘This England’
The Oxford Book of English Verse
School Songsters
Brexiteers, Buccaneers, Musketeers; or, ‘Up Yours, Señors!’
Dickens, Anti-Brexiteer Extraordinaire
Our National Anthem
Gibbon: e Congenital British Non Serviam
Ivanhoe and the Norman Yoke
Jane Austen’s ‘England’
W. E. Henley
Rivers of Blood Wash over Our Green and Pleasant Land
Brexit’s Green and Pleasant Land
A. E. Housman and Thomas Hardy
Land of Hope and Glory
Orwell: Quarter-French, Wholly English
Rhodes Must Fall. Kipling Must Go. Buchan Goes On and On
Kipling Again
Nigel Farage’s Favourite Novel
King Solomon’s (Not Africa’s) Mines
Lady Chatterley’s Lover: ‘Old England’ is Gone Forever
The Amis Objection
Philip Larkin: The Greatest English Poet of Our Time
Why the Brexiteer Loves Sherlock
Mad Dogs and Englishmen (and Jeeves)
The End of Jeeves
Invasion by Immigration – From Calais, Mars or Wherever
Dracula: Illegal Immigrant
God Loves England (Does He Not?)
Goldfinger 196
The Poison Cabinet
Lost Englands
Virginia Woolf’s Farewell to England (and the World)
The Queen and I
The Children of Men
London Fields
England, England
Take to the Boats!
McEwan’s Objection
Hail Hilary!
The Satanic Verses: ‘Not English!’