e a m harris

Roaming the byways of literature

The dream of the homeland

rural England

Recently I’ve been re-reading Poem for the Day One edited by Nicholas Albery. Today’s poem is a section of Rupert Brooke‘s ‘The Old Vicarage: Grantchester‘ written in 1912 while he was on a long journey in Germany. . It starts:-

Ah God! to see the branches stir
Across the moon at Grantchester.

In this expression of homesickness he describes the beauties of rural England in detail. It sounds idyllic.

Reading it I began to wonder how much of the idealisation of homeland/motherland/fatherland is created not by those in it but by those away. I suspect that most countries have a body of nostalgic literature, often poetry, written by the exiled, the war bound or the long-time traveller.

Such idylls are very pervasive. Do they still affect the way people vote or even fight?

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