Friday, November 05, 2010
Why am I such an Anglophile?
The truth is, I have been an Anglophile ("one who greatly admires or favors England and things English")--http://www.merriam-webster.com/) for a very long time.
I suppose it all began in the third grade, when my family moved to Beirut, Lebanon to be missionaries. There was a long waiting list to get into the city's only American school, so my parents enrolled us in Manor House School, and a very proper British school it was.
I can remember nervously sitting in the lobby, facing a large portrait of Queen Elizabeth. I remember my first teacher, Miss Diamond, who insisted I pronounce words like "aunt" properly ("No, no, no, not 'ant'...an 'ant' is a little creature that crawls on the ground").
I remember Miss Gardiner, my next teacher, who terrified me. She was stocky and stern, wore her iron-gray hair in a braid that encircled her head, and she wore "chunky" shoes long before they were popular. Math was a hellish nightmare for me, because my fellow-students had learned their multiplication tables in kindergarten, and I was just now trying to learn mine. Agonizing.
But somehow I survived the trauma of adjusting to a British school, and I grew to enjoy many aspects of it. I loved my fellow students, many of whom were British, Australian or South African. And Manor House gave the gift of literature to a child who was already a voracious reader.
When fifth grade rolled around, I transferred to the American school. But somehow the love of "things English" had wormed its way into my heart, and it has never let go.
A village in England
I love the British way of wording things, so it's no surprise that many of my favorite authors are British. From Jane Austen and Charlotte Bronte to C. S. Lewis, Agatha Christie, Enid Blyton, Noel Streatfield, Mary Stewart (Victoria Holt, Maeve Binchy (Irish, but still...), Rosamunde Pilcher and (more contemporarily) Katie Fforde...the British world is one I enjoy visiting for the duration of a book. I just love immersing myself in that atmosphere.
Two of my favorite childhood books, both of which I have been able to find on the internet in recent years, were both British: Red Knights from Hy Brasil and Auntie Robbo by Ann Scott-Moncrieff.
The Bennett ladies in the Pride and Prejudice movie
Speaking of British authors, are there any Christian British authors? If so, please recommend them to me. (I know of only one that I can think of...Sam Yarney, whose Ninety Days I read and enjoyed.)
As for British humor--well, I know it can get bawdy at times, but I find the uniquely British turn of phrase often makes funny things even funnier. I've done my share of laughing at Monty Python, the British version of "The Office," and various British movies (About a Boy, with Hugh Grant, comes to mind immediately, but there are many others.)
And the accent. Don't even get me started. You could read the dictionary to me in a British accent and I could listen all day!
My dream is to someday take a tour of the UK that will let me visit England, Ireland and Scotland. Until then, I'll curl up with my British books or watch a British movie, a cup of Earl Grey tea in hand...
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