Recommend to your Librarian


Twentieth-Century Popular Culture and the Forming of English Identity

Simon Featherstone

Hardback i (Printed to Order)
eBook (PDF) i

This book examines the conflicts, dilemmas and contradictions that marked Englishness as the nation changed from an imperial power to a postcolonial state.

The chapters deal with travel writing, popular song, music hall and variety theatre, dances, elocution lessons, cricket and football, and national festivals, as well as literature and film. 'High' and 'popular' cultures are brought together in dialogue, and the diversity as well as the problematic nature of English identity is emphasised. The case studies are linked by their interests in different kinds of performances of being English, and by a particular focus upon the voice and the body as key sites for the struggles of modern England.

The book is a lively contribution to current interdisciplinary debates about Englishness, national cultures and postcolonial identities. It is relevant to undergraduate students of literature, drama, film, politics and sociology, and will also appeal to a general readership.

Key Features

  • Wide-ranging survey of twentieth-century English cultures
  • Innovative attention to popular cultures
  • New development of postcolonial theories
  • Clear, accessible writing
  • Concise and varied case studies


Introduction: Being English
Chapter 1: Thinking About England
Chapter 2: Reviving England
Chapter 3: Festivals
Chapter 4: Journeys
Chapter 5: The North
Chapter 6: Race
Chapter 7: Sport
Chapter 8: Voices
Chapter 9: Romance

About the Author

Simon Featherstone teaches Drama at De Montfort University in Leicester. He is the author of Postcolonial Cultures (Edinburgh University Press, 2005).