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")-- 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' '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...

I'm participating in Company Girl Coffee on the icon to participate!


Katharine said...

Oh!I am so with you! When I was 16 I toured England and Scotland for 5weeks...and fell in love. When I was 21 I went back to England, and also to Ireland...and before I got married and had children,I went back to Ireland 3 times. It was true love! Absolutely everything sounds better in a British or Irish accent!~sigh~

Aaron D. Wolf said...

I don't even share the post-millennial fervour that motivated the writing of this song, but it is still very moving, and would make a better national anthem than "God Save the Queen." This video has Blake's lyrics.

Unknown said...

I love the British accent, oh, and the Australian one, too!

Katie said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog! What a neat post about all things British!

Kay Day said...

I'm an anglophile, too. I've never been over there, but it's my dream.
I guess it's my roots. I'm mostly Scottish and English. I'd love to live there for a while.
Have you ever watched Doc Martin? My husband and I enjoyed that one. It's a more subtle comedy.
Mr. Bean is one of my favorites. :)
Oh, and Keeping Up Appearances!

secondofwett said...

Well, of course Canada claims to have their own connection with England but I myself have never been 'across the pond'! Since my ancestors are from Ireland, England and Wales, I think it would be nice to visit sometime.

Jan said...

This was a fun post; I "favour" some of the British ways too! C.S. Lewis was also a Christian author (Irish, not English; is that why you didn't mention him??) Have you read his science fiction trilogy? Out of the Silent Planet is the first.
Enjoy your weekend!

Joyce said...

Thanks for stopping by our blog. Out of all our friends with kids the same age as ours, I think we have the least amount of things "scheduled". Isn't that scary to think about how they run from one thing to another?

Anyhow, the accent!! When I taught PreK, I used to speak to the kids in a British accent all the time, and they thought it was brillant! haha =p

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh dearest, I am a Francophile, but I have to say, I adore all things British. My husband and I love to have BRITISH MOVIE MARATHONS especially in the summer when we don't have to wake up early in the morning to go to work, being teachers and favorite British "thing".....THE HUMOR...oh dear, I laugh crying...I don't know what it is, but they just crack me up. But of course, the history of these interesting people never fails to amaze me....EXCELLENT POST DEAR! Anita

Anonymous said...

I have the passion for American History that you have for British culture.
I really enjoyed reading your post, you are a gifted writer.

sheila said...

Very good post! I'm an 'all things Ireland' girl myself. We're like neighbors! lol

Carol in Oregon said...

I am an Anglophile also. Two years ago a friend gave me a trip for two to anywhere in the world I wanted to go. Of course, I chose Scotland and England.

I think you would loved the fiction of O. Douglas, the pen name for Anna Buchan. My favorite of hers is Penny Plain.

Another great writer who is a Christian is Elizabeth Goudge. Don't get her confused with the modern writer (a distant relative) Eileen Goudge.

I love English words. When I saw your picture of the village the word that came to mind was gloaming. I love the gloaming.


Carol in Oregon

After I had read through all of Jane Austen, and despaired at finding anything quite so satisfying, I discovered Anthony Trollope. Here is a link to the posts I've written about Trollope.

Come At Me Bro said...

This is great!

mholgate said...

You must have led such an interesting childhood! I've never been outside of the U.S. for longer than a few days. I've traveled all over the U.S. though and I love studying history up close and in person.


Lea said...

I've never heard of an "Anglophile." How interesting! I do love the accent for sure!

Happy week!

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