As an undergraduate, a large part of my imaginative life was taken up by foreys into Englishness, a pursuit both blessed and blighted by the tinge of juvenilia, like all the best obsessions are. Indeed, with the sureity that only a nineteen year-old can muster, it hadn’t occurred to me that many, many others were similarly busyied away, constructing their own imaginative landscapes to form a vast, collective hallucination of ice cream cones, film stills of Julie Christie, bunting, Sarah Cracknell’s smile, seaside piers on fire, bald patches and anaglypta wallpaper.

Having spent the five years since then systematically chipping away at an instinct, on coming here I had thought I was too ensconced for a long spell in Hungary to reshuffle my picture of England. I was wrong, however; from here England has begun to reorganise itself into a solid shape and the view doesn’t look too sprightly. What this amounts to, I’m not yet sure. In terms of my, ahem, literary pursuits it’s a very timely boon (confidential to those with a friendly interest in my meatworld: it’s just under three weeks ’til my PhD application is due), clearing much of the fog around the subject. In a wider sense, I’m far to innured to the perils of cultural relativism to begin to think comparatively about this fine, strange, new place yet. I’ll think on…

Author: jenniferhodgson

Writer, editor, researcher

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