–ефераты. Ёссе на английском €зыке (TEN REASONS FOR A TRADITION OF MODERNITY; Made in Britain)

Ёссе на английском €зыке (TEN REASONS FOR A TRADITION OF MODERNITY; Made in Britain)


It is a truth universally acknowledged that Britain is unique. Really, who

can possibly deny it? It is also very much true, although not so universal

that the image Britain projects overseas is rather inaccurate. Mostly

because the traditional opinion is that Britain lacks modernity, that it is

caught in a golden Victorian cage, and this cage, in spite of its material,

is restricting the way towards whatever is considered modern. WRONG.

Why is it so wrong (and in capitals)? Because of at least 10 reasons.

Chronologically speaking, the first reason that comes to mind is

1. J. M. W. Turner, who can be considered as a painter with nerve. When

everyone's' paintings were oils on canvas "photographing" important

personalities, he had the impulse to use watercolours to paint ships caught

in storms. "His paintings are Е so different and often [painted] in such an

ambiguous manner, were often misunderstood by contemporaries", say Fleming

and Honour in their "A World History of Art". And being misunderstood by

contemporaries is often the sign of modernity. A modernity that strikes at

the first sight of a painting by Turner. One cannot believe that they have

been painted in the first decades of the nineteenth century. As one cannot

believe that Caulfield or HodgkinТs works are so resembling and have so

"vital links" with the past, with the traditional methods of painting, when

they have shocked the art community. Turner even finds a disciple in what

concerns the preference for marine themes in Tim Stoner. Turner stopped

time for a ship, Stoner stopped time for a couple of kids in a garden

plastic pool: the modern ships are too ugly to have the time stooped for

them, and besides nowadays the sea means the holiday there during the

summer , not pirates' adventures. Centuries apart, all these modern

painters support the idea of a Britishness in British art, of a certain

sense of insularity. And this is tradition.

The mind's track often brakes loose from the dominance of time, so let us

abandon the chronological trail and follow the white rabbit through the


2. Jane Austen, Elizabeth Bennet and Bridget Jones. You are probably

wondering what two fictional characters and the author of one of them have

in common. They are all modern women. This first two are actually more

modern than the latter. For Jane Austen, modernity meant independence,

being able not to depend on a husband to make a living, and writing. For

Elizabeth Bennet, modernity meant a marriage with a peer not in station but

in mind. As for Bridget, modernity meansЕ Oh, Bridget is rather special.

She is so traditional in her quest for a husband, that makes one wonder

whether she is the real daughter of Mrs. Bennet. In fact, Bridget is not

modern at all, except that she, unlike her other nominee in this category

does know how to use a computer. She actually determines the reader of her

Diary to scream " Are all British women 30 year-olds in search of a husband

and a job?" Apparently for Bridget being British is like being called

Heathcliff: you have to go outside and bang your head on very tree you

find, while yelling "Catherine!"

The trend nowadays is that old is new. Old mentalities, old things in

general. Everything traditional is remixed, redesigned and morphed into the

sensation of the month.( Often on the catwalk). This leads us to:

3. John Galliano, or Stella McCartney , or any other British designer. The

reason: for using at least once in their collections the corset. For a

whole century, women all over the world, including Britain, have tried to

sack the corset, mostly due to its symbolism. British designers never let

it go for good, they just put it on hold. The Goth image at the end of the

past century gave them the opportunity to put it out back in the open. They

waited for the symbolism to blur and vanish, and there it is: different

colours, textures, but nevertheless a corset.

The verb "blur" used above sends to music. British music. And when talking

about British music, one must talk about:

4. The Beatles. As a matter of fact, they should be reason number one on

this list. They are the symbol of Modern Britain, of a certain Britain

that used to dare and that was part of the УAvant-gardeФ. They were so

modern for such a long time , they became tradition.

5. Guy Ritchie. Film Director. The traditional British movie was either Sir

Laurence Olivier or Alfred Hitchcock. From time to time , directors used to

make a name out shocking puritans, as Peter Greenaway did. Ritchie follows

this unspoken tradition and tries to catch its bare essence: to make a

couple of hit-movies, shock everybody, get famous and marry Madonna.

6. Madonna Ц this one is actually a УnegativeФ argument. She does not prove

Britain is modern , she proves the image the world perceives of Britain is

wrong. Madonna is the epitome of modernity, the trend-maker. Now she wants

to have a normal life, although her idea of normality is more resembling to

Tony Ray-JonesТs photograph Ц Glyndebourne ( a couple smartly-dressed,

having tea in a field , amidst or among cows). The critics said about this

photo that captures the Уintroverted , self-contained lives in contrast to

the more expressive world of the cattleФ. So, Madonna wants a normal life,

to be a mid-aged wife with a couple of kids, to live in Scottish manor, to

spend her mornings giving orders to the butler and her afternoons having

tea with some high-class pure British ladies, and during the holidays to go

to Bath.

Actually this is not Britain, it is the celluloid version of Britain. As

for celluloid, it has the tendency to exaggerate.

Speaking of movies:

7. The Full Monty .

Tradition : In Sheffield, steel is produced.

Modernity: In Sheffield, УHot SteelФ is produced.

The difference: УHot SteelФ is formed of male strippers, who actually are

ex-steel workers.

1- for Modernity in this one.

Leading to

8.Football Ц It was invented in Britain, itТs a tradition in Britain. And

1966 was a great year for British football: Cantona was born. Considering

British football is still one of the most praised, it has won the honour to

be also considered modern. And if Beckham isnТt modern, who is?

9. London. УTraditionallyФ speaking, London is supposed to be permanently

foggy, with no other means of transportation but double-deckers and cabs,

populated by men wearing bowlers or looking like James Bond. Well, itТs

not. What is really traditional about London is its scent, its atmosphere,

itТs the arrogance to have an area named so pompously УThe CityФ, itТs the

mixture of trends, itТs the possibility of having Virgin records and

Harrods in the same part of town and itТs having the Changing of the Guards

happening just the same for such a long time, may it be under the flashes

of the last generation of cameras or under the curious eyes of people that

seemed to jump right out of DickensТs books.

10. Cars. Especially Rolls-Royce. Probably the most British car ever, it

is impregnated with the glow of УBritishnessФ and yet it is equipped with

the latest discoveries in car technology.

Here were the ten reasons meant to show that Britain is a wonderful blend,

like a Lady Grey tea. Tradition never excluded modernity, and modernity

never excluded tradition. So, there is no place for a УversusФ between

them. They were never parallel, never had each a separate life. Some

things are so new that they become tradition, and some things , although

obsolete for a while, become so modern all over again.

Conclusion: Britain is not the celluloid image of Britain. And for once, it

has the power to say through the voice of Robbie Williams: УI will talk and

Hollywood will listen!Ф



Frayling, Christopher Ц У100 Years at the Royal College of Art Ц Art and

DesignФ, Collins & Brown, 1999

Graham-Dixon, Andrew Ц УA History of British ArtФ, BBC, 1996

Hounour, Hugh & Fleming, John Ц УA World History of ArtФ, Calmann &

King, 1998

***The Photography Book, Phaidon Press, 1997

The list of all the sources mentioned in this text and found in the British

Council Library is rather long, and I honestly think that only the

catalogue of the Library would cover them all. Nevertheless here are at

least fur that have had an impact on this article.

Austen, Jane Ц УPride and PrejudiceФ

Fielding, Helen Ц УThe Diary of Bridget JonesФ

Carroll, Lewis- ФThe Adventures of Alice in WonderlandФ

***The Full Monty , VHS & DVD

*** Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Directed by Guy Ritchie

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