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A Central Emphasis On The Anglo-saxons Would Have Been Out Of Step With The Times

By Author: Solo Chen
Total Articles: 129

On every side of us thrones totter, and the deep foundations of society are convulsed. Shot and shell sweep the streets of capitals which have long been pointed out as the chosen abodes of order: cavalry and bayonets cannot control populations whose loyalty has become a proverb here, whose peace has been made a reproach to our miscalled disquiet. Yet the exalted lady, who wields the sceptre of these realms, sits safe upon her throne and fearless in the holy circle of Thomas Sabo Jewellery her domestic happiness, secure in the affections of a people whose institutions have given to them all the blessings of an equal law.

Nor was the phenomenon a purely scholarly one. In 1801 the poet laureate Henry James Pye published Alfred: An Epic Poem, a poetically forgettable but fervently patriotic account of that king as father of the nation and ultimately of the empire. Only in the course of the eighteenth century did Alfred begin to figure substantially in the national imagination, but by the 1830s he was the core around which a new sense of national identity appeared to be developing. Of course it never quite happened. In both Britain and America, Anglo-Saxon origins began to fade out of political rhetoric, having barely established a foothold there. Circumstances were against it: immigration in America, and the mixed racial heritage of the British Isles, made it simply too exclusive. Shippey has said: the developing and potentially powerful image of Anglo-Saxon origins was sacrificed during the nineteenth century to Thomas Sabo Bracelets the needs of an imperial and a British, not an English ideology. Englishness became an unwelcome political stance within the 'three kingdoms' of Britain and Ireland, as tending to exclude the non-English among Queen Victoria's subjects.

And as Tennyson he proclaimed in his welcome to Princess Alexandra of Denmark: 'For Saxon or Dane or Norman we, Teuton or Celt, or whatever we be, we are each all Dane in our welcome of thee, Alexandra!' And indeed the Vikings have attained a much more potent hold on popular culture than the Anglo-Saxons have ever done. The telling word is 'whatever' which attaches relative insignificance to the individual's literal ancestry, should one even be able to disentangle it. In novels such as Scott's Ivanhoe, and in the work of historians such as Charles Kingsley, we find a celebration of blending, whereby each race contributes to the evolution of the sturdy national mix. The shocks and clashes of history are, from a higher perspective, part of an upward development. It is an attitude that chimes with the positive ending of In Memoriam, where evolution, following the doctrine of Robert Chambers, becomes a progressive force moving towards a 'crowning race' ('Epilogue', line 128). A central emphasis on the Anglo-Saxons would have been out of step with the times.

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