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John Bull and the Continent


Wojciech Jasiakiewicz and Jakub Lipski

Ever since John Arbuthnot published The History of John Bull in 1712, the figure of John Bull has stereotypically personified the best and the worst traits of the British (or English) national character. The present work takes the eponymous juxtaposition as an incentive to study the variety of multi-faceted contacts between the two sides. Given the recent attempts at a re-definition of the relationship between Britain and the Continent – best visible in the turmoil over Britain’s EU membership – the results of the research will hopefully stimulate discussion about John Bull’s ever-changing presence within or without the Continent.
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Two world wars and one World Cup: Attitudes and expressions to ‘the Continent’ in John King’s England Away


← 184 | 185 → Stephen Dewsbury

University of Opole

Two world wars and one World Cup1: Attitudes and expressions to ‘the Continent’ in John King’s England Away


English novelist John King (1960–) writes mainly about the more rebellious features found within English culture. Lately, his output has drifted away from the core topic of his initial writings, football hooliganism. His recent output has seen him labelled as “an avant-garde novelist […] in a tradition which might be called Gutter Modernism” (Tonkin n.d.). King emerged from Rebel Inc., a counter-culture publishing house, which accessed the darker side of post-Thatcherite Britain and captured counter-cultural rejections of mainstream ideals. His more recent offerings of rebelliousness within English culture, such as those in Human Punk (2000), have focused on a group of young men at school-leaving age in the late seventies and their new found freedoms to a backdrop of the punk movement. White Trash (2002), King’s fifth novel, is described by the author himself as “a defence of the NHS” (Nursing Times, 11 October 2001: 27). The story focuses on the life of a working-class nurse and her daily struggle. In the novel, she is upheld by King as the roots of the NHS, whereas the accountancy-driven management ruins the future of free health care in Britain. The publication of The Prison House (2004) is the only one of King’s novels to date to be set entirely outside of England, although the story focuses on an Englishman...

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