This article assesses the creation of specifically English myths, especially that of the Southern English landscape as the one marker of a quintessential Englishness, in the first three decades of the twentieth century. Taking H.V. Morton’s In Search of England as a case study, the article shows that Morton consciously created an England steeped in the past and racially exclusive. Writing over 70 years after Morton, Joe Bennett’s Mustn’t Grumble: In Search of England and the English retraces Morton’s steps and offers a postcolonial deconstruction of the “myths” of England that Morton had so painstakingly created. In the process, Bennett shows that Morton’s image of England still pervades society to this present day and warns of the dangers of uncritically adopting national stereotypes put forward by literature as well as the tourism and heritage industry.
- H.V. Morton
- Joe Bennett