Who would have thought, even fifteen years ago, that Britain as a concept would seem to alien to many of us who once thought of ourselves as Britons? The drive for Scottish and Welsh (and, indeed, Northern Irish) devolution, and subsequently the momentum towards Scottish independence, fractured the idea of Britain as a political entity, and even as a cultural one. It also caused a boiling-up of the sentiment of Englishness, on the basis that whatever the Scots and Welsh can do, the English ought to be able to do the same. So this collection of essays, whose only common thread is that they are to do with aspects of Britain and Britishness, starts off smelling a little anachronistic.
This book is in fact the sixth in a series that began with Adventures with Britannia in 1995, in the days when the concept was certainly not an anachronism. It is a collection of some of the lectures given to the British Studies seminar at the University of