Roy Strong’s Visions of England asks ‘What does it mean to be English?’ For centuries, Englishness was synonymous with Britishness, informed first by the political dominance of the English monarchs over the British Isles, and later by the island’s might and imperial expansion. But along that tradition, reaching back to medieval times, there has also been a vision of England as the rural arcadia celebrated by painters and poets. While the mythology of empire lingers on in the national psyche, Roy Strong argues that it is the rural tradition – combining aestheticism, pastoralism and patriotism – that offers and answer to the present crisis of English identity.
Free from nationalism, chauvinism and political bias, Roy Strong offers a vision of England that is inclusive and relevant for everybody living in the country today. He shares his appreciation of the beauty of the English countryside, inspires a love of nature and gardening, and calls for a celebration of the Englishness.