United Kingdom - education
The public education system in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland
has many common features; Among other things, it is free at primary school
level, and there is 11 years of compulsory schooling for 5-16-year-olds
everywhere. With approximately 7% of pupils in England and Wales attend influential
England and Wales got the first school law under a liberal government in
1870. Its aim was to combine secular and ecclesiastical interests by making the
school a "national system administered locally".
Of great importance was also the 1944 law, which in accordance with the then
perception of intelligence as innate and measurably recommended streaming at
the age of 11, ie. a distribution of the students in resp. grammar schools,
technical schools and secondary modern.
At the local initiative, in the 1960's and 1970's, these forms of schooling
were increasingly transformed into integrated comprehensive schools,
where setting 'level division' and banding 'team division' are
still quite widespread. The economic crisis of the 1970's was the reason why the
Conservative government in 1988 implemented a reform of the education system,
the Education Reform Act.
The law significantly transferred the power from the local school
authorities, Local Educational Authorities (LEA), to the central
authorities, when establishing national curricula, however, with education
planning and economics as local responsibility. At the same time, standard
assessment tests were introduced, ie. centrally placed position tests for
all 7-, 11- and 14-year-olds. Despite some opposition, this education policy has
largely been continued.
The latest government documents, Excellence in Schools (1997) and
the debate paper Teachers Meeting the Challenge of Change (1998),
emphasize the socio-economic necessity of increased quality in teaching.
The preschool area includes one- to two-year volunteer reception classes or nursery
schools. Compulsory schooling begins with the six-year primary school,
which is divided into a two-year infant school for 5-6-year-olds and a
four-year junior school for 7-11-year-olds. The five-year secondary
school ends with the General Certificate of Secondary Education,
which has replaced the so-called O-level, ie. ordinary level. This
is followed by more specialized one- to two-year sixth forms, leading
to A-level, ie. advanced level; A-level is admission to the
The UK has a large and well-developed network of higher education
institutions as well as two of Europe's oldest universities, Oxford and
Cambridge, both from the 1200's. and still with elite status. Among the oldest
universities is also the Scottish St. Andrews from 1411. The University of Wales
in Cardiff is from 1893, and the Queen's University of Belfast in Northern
Ireland from 1845.
Part of the higher education is handled by Open University, which
offers distance learning for all university degrees and is open to everyone. The
university, which is the first of its kind, has approximately 210,000 students
(1998). See also Scotland - education.
Private schools include public
schools, egl. 'public schools', ie. schools that are open to children from
all parts of the country and therefore boarding schools. The term may seem
misleading today because over time the schools took on an aristocratic character
and were mainly based on parental pay. The schools are now often referred to as independent
schools, ie. pedagogically independent of the state education system. The
oldest and most famous are Winchester (1382), Eton (1440), Rugby (1567) and
Despite the great decline in the number of pupils around 1800, the schools
remained an attractive offer also for the emerging middle class, partly because
the road to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge went through them, partly
because they were reformed from within.
One of the great reformers was Rugby Rector Thomas Arnold, who saw it as his
main task to raise boys to be "Christian gentlemen" with special emphasis on
character upbringing. Important elements of the ideal of formation were
religion, history, literature and the classical languages. He also reformed the
prefect system by involving the oldest students as his pedagogical staff. Later,
team sports were added, such as football, cricket and rugby.
Through the preservation of some of the original character-raising traits,
the schools also around the year 2000 help to make their mark on British
ETYMOLOGY: Great Britain is called in English Great Britain, by Latin Britannia Major,
as opposed to Latin Britannia Minor 'Little Britain' ie. Brittany in
OFFICIAL NAME: United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (UK)
CAPITAL CITY: London
POPULATION: 63,181,000 (Source:
AREA: 242,525 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): English, Welsh, Irish, Scottish, other
RELIGION: Anglicans 44%, Presbyterians 5%, Methodists 2%, Catholics 10%, Orthodox 1%,
other Christians 4%, Muslims 3%, Hindus 1%, Sikhs 1%, Jews 1%, others el. no 28%
CURRENCY CODE: GBP
ENGLISH NAME: United Kingdom
POPULATION COMPOSITION: whites 87%, Indians 1.5%, Pakistanis 1%, Afro-Caribbean 1%, Africans 0.5%,
GDP PER residents: $ 44,118 (2015)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 76 years, women 81 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.892
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 14
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .uk
Britain, the largest of the British Isles and surrounding smaller islands,
including the Hebrides, Shetland Islands, Orkney Islands, Anglesey, Isles of
Scilly and the Isle of Wight, all encompassing the nations of England, Wales
AbbreviationFinder.org: Find two-letter abbreviation for each
independent country and territory, such as UK which stands for United Kingdom.
In everyday speech and in this article, Britain is a short form of
the British state encompassing the union between England as the central unit,
Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland with the formal name United Kingdom of
Great Britain and Northern Ireland. In the United Kingdom formally
belongs also a number of overseas possessions (dependent territories)
and crown dependencies, all of which are referred to independently
elsewhere in the work and not in this article.
Furthermore, reference can be made to the articles on Northern
Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
The United Kingdom and Northern Ireland is a kingdom in NW Europe in
the British Isles of the North Atlantic, separated from the English Channel and
the North Sea by the continent. Central to world history over the past 300
years is Britain, which was early industrialized with a background in
technological advances and a wealth linked to the building of the British
Empire.with a number of colonies and possessions. Britain became an economic,
industrial, political and cultural superpower. This position was partially
maintained despite the decolonization through the 1900's. and major structural
change problems in the Union's industry and labor market, most recently due to
globalization in the early 2000's. English language has a prominent position in
the world, as the official language of a number of countries, and the
economic orientation of the former colonies is increasingly directed towards
Great Britain, just as in other contexts there are connections, e.g. in
the Commonwealth of Nations.
Politically, Britain has shaped the outside world, for example with
parliamentarism and its parliamentary system. The British legal system common
law is an element in a number of countries, and in the history of ideas,
for example, liberalism has its roots in Great Britain. The Union has from the
beginning of 2000-t. assumed a looser link with a higher degree of autonomy in
Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
In a referendum in 2016, the British people agreed that Britain should opt
out of the EU (Brexit). The result of the vote triggered shock waves both
domestically and internationally. Doubts have been raised as to whether Scotland
and perhaps Northern Ireland continue to want to be part of a UK outside the EU.
|Facts about the four nations
||population (million, 2001)
United Kingdom (Geography)
Natural Geographically, the real Great Britain is mentioned here,
while Northern Ireland is mentioned under its own key word.
Great Britain - language
The dominant language is English. The original Celtic
languages, Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic, are to some extent preserved
locally alongside English.
Welsh, which together with English is the official language of Wales, is
spoken here by approximately 20% and is used in both teaching and media. In Northern
Ireland, Irish is spoken by a minority. Scottish Gaelic belongs to the Scottish
Highlands, where in the 1990's it was spoken by almost 2% of the population. The
British cities are also linguistically influenced by the many immigrants who
have immigrated from former British colonies, especially the Caribbean and
Pakistan, since the 1960's.
United Kingdom (Religion)
There are historical reasons why religious conditions form a disparate
pattern in the four nations. Furthermore, in the last decades of the 1900's,
these conditions have undergone major changes. While in rural areas one is
faithful to tradition, considerable changes are taking place in the big cities.
England is traditionally Anglican, and Scotland Presbyterian; Wales has been
Calvinist Methodist, but in the 1990's the Episcopal Church grew larger and
Northern Ireland is divided between a small Presbyterian majority and a large
Catholic minority. The church structure and organization are different in the
four nations, but it is true in all four that no church is monopolistic, and
that many other churches play a significant role, which due to an unusual
degree of ecclesiastical freedom for European affairs since the Act of Tolerance
in 1689. Thus, the Roman Catholic Church has been permitted since 1829. The two
established churches, the Anglican Church of England (see Anglican
Church) and the Presbyterian Church of Scotland (seeScotland (church
relations)), comprises only about a third of the two populations. In addition
to those mentioned, there are, for example, Methodists, United Reformed (in
England), Congregationalists, Baptists, Pentecostal churches and
Quakers. Between the old denominations there is a developed ecumenical (joint
While many of the ancient churches are in decline, the black West Indian
Baptist and Pentecostal congregations are growing rapidly. Religious life,
especially in the big cities, is also influenced by other religions; Britain's
old role as a colonial power has led to great immigration from other
cultures. Of non-Christian religions, Islam is the largest, and Hinduism,
Buddhism, and Sikhism are widespread, as are Jewish congregations.
Great Britain - constitution and political system
Britain is a constitutional monarchy with male and female succession and a
parliamentary democracy. It has no constitution. The constitution has grown over
several hundred years and is largely unwritten.
The main sources are Parliament's legislation and court decisions. In
particular, a number of so-called fundamental laws can be emphasized, the Magna
Charta (1215), the Petition of Rights (1628) (see petition), the Declaration of
Rights (1689), see the Act of Settlement (1701), the Scottish Union Act 1707 and
several election laws.
Issues for which there is no formal law, such as the parliamentary principles
for the resignation of a government, are decided by conventions that have proved
open to development or modification; it provides great political agility.
Constitutionally, the highest legislative authority lies with the monarch in
Parliament, ie. that a bill to become law must be approved by the three parties
that make up Parliament: the monarch, the upper house and the lower house (see
also House of Lords and House of Commons). For the last 280 years, the
monarch's applause has been automatic, while the House of Lords today only has
an exposing power over certain types of legislation.
Finance bills are always submitted first in the House of Commons; this
usually also applies to other legislation. Since 1911, the House of Lords has
not been able to block financial legislation, and since 1949 it has not been
able to reject other bills if they have been passed in two immediately
consecutive sessions. However, it has often proved to be a constructive forum
for principled debate, as its members are not subject to the same party
discipline as the House of Commons, and it is still the supreme court of appeal
in a number of civil and criminal cases.
The number of members who are hereditary peers has been sharply reduced, and
further cuts are being discussed, possibly with the Upper House's total
abolition as a goal - at least for part of the Labor Party. In 2005, the
composition of the Upper House looked like this: hereditary 92, lifetime
approximately 500, clergyman 26.
The members of the lower house are elected by majority vote in single-member
constituencies. The number is subject to change taking into account population
development; in 2005 there were 646 members spread over 529 from England, 59
from Scotland, 40 from Wales and 18 from Northern Ireland. Members of parliament
are elected for five years, unless elections are called during the period.
Control over the government and legislation is the main tasks of the House of
Commons. Although any member can make bills, most come from ministers. In 1979,
specialized committees were set up, which prepare background material for a
detailed debate and thus over the years have played an increasingly important
The executive power formally lies with the monarch, but with the prime
minister and other members of the government. The leader of the party that can
present a majority of votes in the House of Commons is elected Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister's authority has grown sharply during the 1900's, and he or
she makes more and more decisions on his or her own without consulting his or
her government colleagues, but must nevertheless have their trust and support to
exercise power; it has happened several times in modern times that the Prime
Minister has been voted down in government.
In the last decades of the 1900-t. Britain embarked on a policy of
decentralization. Northern Ireland had a Parliamentary Assembly with advisory
functions in 1982. Following referendums in 1999, parliaments with limited
powers were set up in Scotland, which also had its own government, and in
Wales; the former with 129 members, the latter with 60. The representation of
these countries in the Parliament in Westminster continues unabated.
Great Britain - political parties
The British electoral system with majority elections in single-member
constituencies has benefited the major parties. The norm has therefore been a
two-party system, where one of two large parties can form a majority government
alone. After 1945, the Conservative Party has thus had power 1951-64, 1970-74,
1979-97 and from 2010, and the Labor Party 1945-51, 1964-70, 1974-79 and
Center parties such as the Liberal Party - from 1989 the Liberal
Democrats after merging with the Social Democratic Party (1981-88) - have at
times gained decent turnout and had influence in local politics, but have not
been in government.
Small outer-wing groupings exist, but in the post-war period have been
without political influence. From the 1970's onwards, there was progress for
smaller, regional nationalist parties such as the Scottish National Party and
the Welsh Plaid Cymru, which are represented both in the House of Commons and
in the Scottish and Welsh local assemblies.
Northern Ireland has its own party structure. Here the parties are grouped
according to national and religious criteria with the Democratic Unionist
Party and the Official Unionist Party as the largest Protestant-Unionist, and
the Sinn Féin and Social Democratic and Labor Party as the most significant
Great Britain - economy
In the years after World War II, Britain was still a significant colonial
power, but had already begun its relative economic decline. Thus, the country
moved from a position as the world's second largest economy at the beginning of
the 1900's. to a more modest place as the fifth-largest at the turn of the
In the post-war years, the newly elected Labor government under
the leadership of Clement Attlee carried out a marked reform of social policy in
collaboration with the Conservative Party. Through the establishment of
national insurance and health insurance schemes, the foundation was laid for the
so-called welfare state.
Furthermore, the government introduced a higher degree of state interference
in the economy, including nationalizations of the coal and steel industries as
well as the transport sector. The Conservatives' reign of 1951-64 did not lead
to major changes in the policy pursued apart from the privatizations of the
It was not until after the oil crisis of 1973-74 that waters began to
separate between Labor and the Conservative Party over the main features of
economic policy, and the final break came when the Conservatives took power in
1979. The new Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, set out to break the power of
trade unions, liberalize the economy by privatizing public enterprises and open
up hitherto protected sectors to competition, as well as increase the role of
the private sector as a provider of social welfare services.
The liberal policies pursued by John Major after the departure of Margaret
Thatcher in 1990 have been a major cause of Britain's business structure having
changed dramatically since the early 1980's:
First, the service sector's share of total production has increased
significantly at the expense of industry in particular. Among other things. The
financial sector has experienced great progress, cementing the City of London's
position as one of the world's three leading financial centers.
Secondly, the regional inequalities were changed in favor of
e.g. The London area and the south-east of England at the expense of especially
the north-east as well as Wales, where unprofitable companies in the heavy and
mining industry were closed in large numbers in the 1980's.
After 17 years in opposition, a reformed Labor, New Labor, came to power in
1997 with Tony Blair as head of government. In his economic policy program, Mr
Blair has focused in particular on reducing unemployment through labor market
and tax policy reforms and on pursuing a more Europe-oriented economic policy.
The UK has traditionally taken a hesitant stance on European integration
issues and first became a member of the EC in 1973, just as it chose to stay out
of the EC countries' monetary cooperation, the EMS, when it was set up in 1979.
Relations between the EC and the UK were marked by conflicts in the years under
Margaret Thatcher, who had a considerable aversion to the formation of closer
economic and political cooperation within the Community.
However, after allowing the pound to follow the D-mark for a short period,
the government decided in the autumn of 1990 to allow the UK to participate in
the EMS with a wider fluctuation band of +/- 6%. At this time, the economy was
on the verge of recession, which is why there was a widespread perception in the
financial markets that the pound had entered the fixed exchange rate partnership
at an overvalued level.
As early as the autumn of 1992, the government had to suspend membership
after a dramatic financial crisis in which there was strong speculation about
the pound, which eventually lost almost 20% in value against the D-mark. Since
then, the pound has flowed freely, and Britain, like Denmark, chose to stand
outside Economic and Monetary Union in the EU. Furthermore, the United Kingdom
has chosen to stay out of the social dimension of the EU.
The monetary policy management, which is managed by the Bank of England via a
monetary policy committee, has since the failed EMS accession been aimed at
keeping inflation at a stable low level, which in the late 1990's was defined as
approximately 2.5% in the medium term. The Bank of England was made independent by the
government in 1997 following Labor's takeover.
Fiscal policy has been based on ensuring sound public finances since the
early 1980's, which in practice has resulted in an objective of balancing public
budgets in the medium term. This is a significant reason why the UK's public
debt to GDP ratio of 43% (2005) is among the lowest in the OECD area.
After a significant crisis in the early 1990's, the economy regained growth in
1993. The significant depreciation of the pound increased net exports, while
falling interest rates boosted domestic demand. Towards the end of the 1990's,
the economy continued to grow well, but then only as a result of growth in
domestic demand, as competitiveness had weakened again in the wake of a
significant strengthening of the international value of the pound.
After 2000, growth has been modest, as in most countries, but inflation and
interest rates remain low. Unemployment reached below 5% in 2001, the lowest
figure in 20 years, and has been stable ever since. The growth period of
Thatcherism had far from evened out Britain's traditional and deep social
divides, but the Blair government in particular, from its second period (from
2001), has invested heavily in health and education, leading to a budget deficit
The long growth period has exacerbated the problems with the external
balances. The UK has traditionally had large current account deficits, and as
surpluses on other foreign transactions have generally not been sufficient to
offset these, the current account of the balance of payments has most often
shown deficits. In 2005, the deficit on the trade and balance of payments
corresponded to resp. 5.0 and 2.6% of GDP.
The UK's main trading partners are the EU countries, which together account
for around 54% of total foreign trade (2005); Germany's share is 12%. The USA is
the UK's second largest single trade partner with approximately 11% of foreign
trade; then comes France.
The United Kingdom is Denmark's third largest trading partner (after Germany
and Sweden). Denmark's exports to the United Kingdom (incl. Northern Ireland) in
2005 amounted to DKK 45.5 billion. DKK, while Denmark's imports from there were
27.3 billion. The most important Danish export goods were meat, oil, various
industrial machines and pharmaceutical products. Imports from there included of
electronic equipment and pharmaceutical products.
Great Britain - social conditions
The social services in Great Britain are based on a reform, the so-called
Beveridge Plan (after the British economist William Henry Beveridge), which was
designed in 1942 and implemented in 1945-51. The British social system is
distinctly state-run. The main components are a state health service, based on
the general tax system, and a number of cash benefits, some of which are paid
over the taxes, while others are financed by a social insurance contribution. The
cash benefits are also administered by government agencies.
The National Health Service provides free medical treatment through general
practitioners and in health care hospitals. The treatment is provided to anyone
with permanent residence in the UK.
The contribution-financed cash benefits cover all employees as well as the
self-employed who have employed employees. They include unemployment benefits,
illness and maternity leave, as well as old-age and widow's pensions. The
tax-financed benefits include work injury compensation, disability pension,
child allowance, allowance for single parents, old-age pension for non-insured
persons and development assistance.
Entitlement to an old-age pension occurs at the age of 60 for women and the
age of 65 for men. The pension consists of a basic amount and a superstructure,
the amount of which depends on the average business income during the working
period as well as on the length of the contribution period. The basic pension
consists of a personal pension and a spouse's pension. The superstructure can be
replaced by contractual labor market pensions.
Unemployment insurance covers all employees who have had two years of
employment. Unemployment benefits are paid after three qualifying days; the
unemployment benefits cease after one year of unemployment, and then you switch
to development assistance. Unemployment benefits are provided with a fixed
amount and are relatively low, but need-based assistance can be provided as a
supplement. The unemployment benefit is administered by the state employment
Sickness benefits are also granted after three qualifying days with fixed
amounts. The right to this lapses after 28 weeks, after which you transfer to
invalidity benefit or assistance.
There are three different types of assistance: Income Support is
aimed at people with less than 16 hours of work per week; it supplements the
income up to a minimum. Family Credit aims to help low-wage families
with small incomes return to the labor market. Finally, there is special
assistance for the disabled who are not insured. In all three schemes, the
allocation is made on the basis of an individual needs assessment, but the
payment is made with fixed amounts. Internationally, this is a rather unique
United Kingdom (Health Conditions)
Life expectancy in 1997 was 74.8 years for men and 79.9 for women. Infant
mortality in the same year was 5.9 per 1000 live births. Cardiovascular disease
was the most common cause of death, but has been declining sharply for both
sexes since 1970. Cancer is the second most common cause of death and slightly
declining. Mortality due to lung cancer has almost halved in men since 1970, and
for women it reached its maximum in 1994.
The country has had a National Health Service (NHS) since
1948. However, Scotland in particular has had a structural development
different from the rest of the country at certain points. The NHS replaced a
predominantly private healthcare system with partial health insurance and was
part of the major reforms that Labor implemented after World War II. The system
has undergone a number of organizational reforms, but the basic elements of
central management and tax financing have not fundamentally changed. Thus, the
country is divided into a number of NHS regions with boards appointed by the
Minister of Health; the regions are further subdivided. The NHS structure does
not usually coincide with the municipal division.
In 2002, the NHS underwent another restructuring without changing the basic
structure of central, overall governance and tax-paid funding. The government
has promised an increase in the budget by 7.5% annually in addition to
inflation, so that in 2008 the country will spend 9.4% of GDP on health care,
ie. more than the current EU average. Furthermore, the government also committed
itself to a significant expansion of health education. In the long term, these
initiatives will reduce the problems of undercapacity in the health care system
and the resulting problems with long waiting lists. Despite the population's
criticism of waiting times in the NHS, there is still broad public support
for a publicly funded healthcare system.
United Kingdom - management
Since the 1970's, Great Britain has had several changes in local government,
most recently a major local government reform in the 1990's, and more are on the
way, as a result of the progressive transfer of powers to individual
countries and regions (devolution).
In the 1900's. an ever-stronger central power has been an inhibiting factor
for local self-government, which has otherwise historically stood strong.
In England, there have been 35 county councils outside the big
cities since 1997, 36 metropolitan district councils, and Greater London is
divided into 32 city councils. The majority of the county councils must be
unitary, ie. that they must take care of all local tasks; these have in the past
been largely outsourced to special bodies.
This plan, which is being gradually implemented, remains very
controversial. According to a law from 1998, nine Regional Development
Agencies must also be established for resp. Greater London, South East,
South West, East Midlands, West Midlands, East of England, Yorkshire on the
Humber, North East and North West.
Greater London gets a directly elected mayor, while it is (2000) unclear
whether the other regions should have elected bodies.
Since 1996, Scotland has 29 unitary (municipal) units as well as the three
Island Authority Areas: the Hebrides, the Orkney Islands and the Shetland
Islands. There are also about 1000 local councils. In Wales, 22 unitary councils
were established in 1996; there are 730 local councils. In Northern Ireland
there are 26 district councils, based on the major population centers.
There are traditionally a number of differences between local administrations
in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, but in general the local
authorities (county councils and unitary units) are responsible for areas such
as strategic planning, policing and fire, education, libraries, roads and
traffic, urban planning, housing and the environment, but can delegate tasks to
subordinate bodies such as district and municipal/local councils and parishes.
There is a tendency to offer more tasks in tendering and to privatize. To
cover the expenses, the local administrations have a certain right to property
tax and income from services, and not least subsidies from the central
Great Britain - legal system
Great Britain does not have a written constitution, as the constitution is
based partly on customary law, partly on individual laws such as the Magna
Charta (1215), the Habeas Corpus Act (1679), the Declaration of Rights (1689)
and the Act of Settlement (1701), partly on judicial rules from previously
pending constitutional issues.
The United Kingdom is the origin of the common law system adopted by and
further developed in the United States, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and a
number of former colonies. Common law is used as a collective term for the
structure of these legal systems, which is characterized by the fact that a
large part of the legal rules are judicial - some dating back to the
1300's. Parliamentary legislation, so-called statute law, has previously been
modest in scope, but has in recent times, and especially after Britain's
accession to the EU, become much more extensive.
The court organization is in principle divided into three parts. From 2009, a
newly created Supreme Court will take over the House of Lords' function as the
supreme court, see the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The Court of Appeal is
the middle court and appellate body for cases decided in the High Courts etc.,
and located at the bottom is the High Courts as the first instance. In addition,
there are a number of other lower courts as well as courts with special
jurisdiction, such as Magistrates' Courts, which primarily adjudicate minor
Some crimes have been made punishable by law, but large parts of English
criminal law are still defined by the judicial rules of former times; the same
applies to the majority of private law. The law of contract is still
characterized by great respect for the free will of the parties, ie. an
extensive freedom of contract applies. However, both the courts and the
legislature have made restrictions on this, for example in the Unfair Contract
Terms Act of 1977. The Sale of Goods Act of 1893, which reproduces the
previously judged court, became a cornerstone of commercial world trade and the
basis of purchase law in many other countries.. A well-known but distinctive
doctrine of contract law is consideration, which, like property rights, is
characterized by the special concept of trust., developed by common law
courts. Unlike in the United States, juries are no longer used in civil cases
(except for injury cases), and the winning party is usually awarded legal costs,
including legal fees.
The legal system in Scotland differs greatly from the legal systems in
England and Wales in being more systematic and less marked by case law.
The legal profession is divided into barristers, who deal almost exclusively
with litigation, and solicitors, who mainly offer general legal advice. The law
program is a three-year university degree, which for the most part is followed
by an internship period.
Great Britain (Military)
The Armed Forces is (2006) at 205,890. The Army is at 116,760, the Navy at
40,630 and the Air Force at 48,500. 3700 are cucumbers from Nepal. The reserve
is 272,550, of which the army's part 210,150, the navy's 28,500 and the air
force's 42,900. The equipment in all three defenses is from the 1980's or later,
produced in the USA or in the UK, possibly. in cooperation with other EU
countries. It has been kept up to date through modernizations at a pace
surpassed only by US forces.
The British Army is organized as a pool of headquarters (1 corps,
2 division and 7 operational and 14 other brigade headquarters) and units of
various types in both the standing forces and the reserve. From this, the forces
that suit the individual mission can be put together on an ad hoc basis. On the
whole, the conventional British military forces are now organized so that they
can be deployed in "tailor-made" packages to solve a wide range of tasks inside
and outside Europe.
The country's long - range nuclear force, in contrast to the forces of the
other four "old" nuclear powers, includes only missiles on submarines. The Royal
Navy has four submarines in the nuclear deterrence force. In addition, the
Navy 11 other nuclear-powered submarines, three aircraft carriers, 31 major
combat units, 24 less fighting vehicles, 22 mine countermeasures vessels,
31 landing ships and - vessels, 15 combat aircraft (Fleet Air Arm)
and a marine infantry force (Royal Marines) on 7000th
The Air Force (Royal Air Force) is a balanced force with 339
fighter aircraft, 7 radar warning aircraft, 25 tankers and more than
66 transport aircraft of various types.
United Kingdom (Trade Union Movement)
The trade union movement in Great Britain is considered to be the oldest in
the world and it has been a role model for a large number of countries. Already
in the mid-1800's. the professionals' organizations were strong enough to build
overall structures. The main organization, the Trades Union Congress, TUC, was
formed in 1868 and remains the absolutely dominant national organization.
The trade union movement was originally organized around individual subjects,
and these often very class-conscious organizations collaborated from the 1880's
with the Liberal Party (Lib-Lab coalition), while the new trade union
movement, which arose after a major conflict in 1889, organized unskilled
male workers. Small socialist organizations and individuals, Karl Marx's
daughter Eleanor Marx (1855-98), made a significant contribution to the
involvement of unskilled women in the trade union movement and in the
establishment of the first union of unskilled (general union), Gasworkers 'and
General Laborers' Union, in 1889. After the more combative new trade union
movement had emerged, it became integrated into the TUC. The third wave came
with the development of trade unions for white-collar workers in the early
1900-t. It remains characteristic of the British trade union movement that it
consists of often very large industrial unions (industrial unions), of a number
of unions for skilled workers (craft unions) and unions for white-collar workers
(white collar unions) as well as of various types of mixtures. The trade union
movement is undergoing a process of concentration, which is far from
complete. In 2006, there were still a significant number of registered trade
unions, of which 59 in TUC. The tendency to form very large unions such as UNITE
(transport, metal and finance sector) by merging with 1.95 mill. members or
UNISON (civil servants) with 1.35 million. members have increased. At the same
time, however, there are still a large number of small unions with a few hundred
up to 2-3000 members and approximately eight medium-sized unions with memberships
fluctuating between 100,000 and 600,000 members.
Outside TUC are General Federation of Trade Unions, GFTU, founded 1899,
which is the main organization for approximately 35 smaller unions with a total of
approximately 250,000 members (2007), several of whom also have branches under the TUC
federation. GFTU's membership has halved in the last decade. Furthermore, there
are unions for nurses, teachers, middle technicians and electricians who have
increased their membership.
Around 1900, the trade union movement developed a need for a political
partner, and by 1900, the Labor Representation Committee was set up in
collaboration between various unions and socialist groups to get more workers
elected to Parliament; in 1906 the name was changed to the Labor Party. The
trade union movement then worked closely with the party, but the connection was
dampened after 1994 with the development of New Labor under the leadership of
Tony Blair, who wanted to be independent of the trade union movement. However,
there are still several major unions affiliated with the Labor Party. TUC does
not have such an affiliation and seeks to cooperate with all major parties; in
the 1990's, in particular, the connection with the Liberal Democrats was
expanded. However, TUC is only a service body for the unions and cannot take
Since the trade union movement in 1980 reached a peak with an organization
percentage of approximately 55 and 13.3 million. members, of which approximately 12.2
million in TUC, it has suffered many setbacks. In 2006, the number of members
had fallen to less than 30% of the labor force, ie. approximately 7.5 million members, of
which almost 6.5 million. in TUC, however, with large fluctuations in the
various professions and geographical areas; especially workers in the private
sector and young workers are disorganized. However, a few more are covered by
collective agreements. The decline is due to a combination of the industrial
decline in Britain - the traditional heavy industry and mining has been sharply
reduced, leading to rising unemployment - and the political changes initiated by
the Conservative government under Margaret Thatcher, among others. by legally
restricting the trade union movement's opportunities to work to, for example,
organize a strike. The New Labor government since 1997 has not strengthened the
trade union movement, and it has not achieved its former organizational
strength. New Labor has distanced itself from the previous collaboration between
the trade union movement and the Labor Party. This in turn has led to an
increasing politicization of the trade union movement, which may develop into an
independent political activity.
United Kingdom - Libraries and archives
The earliest libraries were attached to monasteries and convent schools,
after 1200-t. supplemented by the universities of Oxford and Cambridge; the
first catalog is the Cambridge University Library from 1424. The Reformation led
to the dissolution and dispersal of several Catholic-clerical libraries.
Thomas Bodley (1545-1613) newly established in 1602 Oxford University Library
(see Bodleian Library) as the first compulsory delivery library; since then,
compulsory delivery has been extended to five other libraries: Cambridge
University Library, The Royal Library, which from 1753 was part of the newly
established British Museum, later for Trinity College in Dublin, and from the
early 1900's. the National Libraries of Scotland and Wales.
The country's three largest libraries are research libraries: Bodleian
Library, Cambridge University Library and British Library, the latter since
1973 an amalgamation of the British Museum's library and a number of specialized
From the middle of the 1700's. private rental libraries provided book lending
to a wide readership. A law from 1850 made it possible for municipal subsidies
to public libraries, and the British library system became, alongside the United
States, a model for public libraries in many countries, including Denmark.
The Public Record Office is the English National Archives, grdl. 1838. In
1977, parts of it moved to a modernly furnished archive building in the London
suburb of Kew, where extensions have since been made. The collections consist
mainly of the central administration's archives from the early Middle Ages to
Scotland and Northern Ireland have their own national archives, as well as an
independent network of regional and local archives. The Royal Commission on
Historical Manuscripts, established in 1869, maintains a list of public and
private British archives.
Great Britain - mass media
As early as 1693 censorship was lifted. The first regularly published
newspaper was The Daily Courant from 1702. Shortly afterwards, Daniel Defoe
began publishing the weekly Review, published in 1704-13. He introduced the
leader in the British press and gained great importance for other newspapers and
for magazines such as The Tatler, The Examiner and The Spectator (founded 1709,
1710 and 1711 respectively).
|Largest dailies (early 2000)
|The Daily Telegraph
|The Financial Times
||445,000 of which 245,000 sold abroad
|Popular and mid-market newspapers
From 1785 the newspaper The Daily Universal Register, founded by John Walter,
was published. In 1788 it changed its name to The Times and came to dominate the
British press for much of the 1800's. Sunday edition, The Sunday Times, was
first published in 1822. Inspired by the United States released Alfred
Harmsworth (later Lord Northcliffe) 1896 sensation newspapers Daily Mail and
1903 Daily Mirror, published in large editions; they have later changed their
name and are now simply called Mail and Mirror. Northcliffe ran the newspapers
with his brother Harold Rothermere. Other newspaper empires in the first half of
the 1900's. was the Beaverbrook Newspapers, founded by Max Aitken (Lord
Beaverbrook), who included the Daily Express (purchased 1916) and the
Sunday Express (founded 1918).
There are approximately 130 dailies and Sunday newspapers in the UK (2000); in
addition, over 2000 weekly newspapers and around 7000 magazines are
published. Nationwide newspapers are generally divided into quality and popular
newspapers due to differences in style and content. Five dailies and four Sunday
newspapers are described as quality newspapers.
The Observer, founded in 1791, is the world's oldest nationwide Sunday
newspaper, while The Times is Britain's oldest nationwide newspaper. The
newspapers are almost always financially independent of political parties. The
nationwide newspapers, the London newspapers and a number of regional newspapers
are owned by a number of large companies, most of which are also involved in
other publishing and communication activities. It is estimated that over half of
the population on an average weekday reads a nationwide morning newspaper.
Fleet Street in London was once a vibrant and famous center for the newspaper
industry, but now all nationwide newspapers have moved editorial and printing to
other parts of London or all the way away from the capital. One of the main
forces in this development was the Australian-born media magnate Rupert Murdoch,
who from 1969 had acquired a number of British newspapers, tabloids as well as
the respected Times Newspapers Ltd. Several newspapers, such as The Financial
Times (founded 1888) and The Guardian (founded 1821), also have printed editions
in other countries.
Over 85% of the population read a regional or local newspaper. Most cities in
the UK have their own local newspaper, which mainly covers local material and is
published as a morning, afternoon or Sunday newspaper. London has only one
afternoon newspaper, The Evening Standard, founded in 1827. Since 1999, the
publisher, Associated Newspapers, has also published a free newspaper, the
Scotland has its own national dailies, and here the Daily Record, founded in
1885, has the largest circulation. In Wales, the weekly newspapers include Welsh
and bilingual newspapers, and they receive state aid as part of the conservation
of Welsh. Northern Ireland's dailies are all published in Belfast, with the
Belfast Telegraph, founded in 1870, being the largest.
Hundreds of free, advertising-funded newspapers have appeared in the UK in
recent years, and many ethnic minority groups publish newspapers and magazines,
most on a weekly or monthly basis. However, the Chinese Sing Tao, Daily Jang in
Urdu and the Arabic Al-Arab are daily newspapers. Muslim News, a free weekly
newspaper across the UK, is claimed to have over 60,000 readers. Many
English-language provincial newspapers have special editions for local ethnic
The UK's best-selling magazines have extensive radio and television programs,
such as the Sky TV Guide and the Radio Times. Leading political magazines
are The Economist (founded 1843), New Statesman (founded 1913) and another
magazine called Spectator (founded 1828). The publishers of the national dailies
are grouped in the Newspaper Publishers Association.
Regional and local publishers are represented by the Newspaper Society,
founded in 1836, which is believed to be the world's oldest publishing
association. The main international news agencies are Reuters and the Associated
Press (see AP), and the main national news agency is the Press Association.
Great Britain - visual art
Augustine's arrival in England in 597 and the re - introduction of
Christianity meant a new artistic production linked to cathedrals and
monasteries. The book painting in particular flourished with lavishly
illustrated manuscripts such as The Lindisfarne Gospels (approximately 700,
British Library), in the 900's and 1000's with the center in Winchester and
Middle Ages and Renaissance
After 1066, the Normans brought the Romanesque style to the country; a unique
work from this time is the Bayeux wallpaper. Later came the
French-influenced Gothic, which was especially expressed in facade sculptures
in the cathedrals in Wells and Exeter and in stained glass windows in
Canterbury and York; a major work in the art of painting is the altar
painting Wilton-diptychonet (approximately 1395-99, National Gallery, London).
Under Henry VIII, secular portrait painting gained ground, often by
well-known foreign artists such as Hans Holbein dy, who settled in London in
1532; Holbein also cultivated miniature painting, a genre developed to
perfection by Nicholas Hilliard.
Great Britain - visual art - baroque - 1850
The Baroque style came to the country via the Flemish Paul van Somer (approximately
1576-1621) and the Dutchman Daniel Meytens (1590-1647), who came to London
respectively. 1616 and approximately 1618. Together with Cornelius Johnson
(1593-1661), they shaped the development of portrait art and paved the way for
the Flemish Antonis van Dyck, who from 1632 was court painter for Charles I and
the most important portrait painter of the period. William Dobson (1610/11-46)
painted solid and straightforward portraits of the royal family. The
Dutch-born Peter Lely came to London in the 1640's; after the Restoration in 1660
he became court painter for Charles II and an extremely productive portrait
painter. After Lely's death in 1680, John Riley (1646-91) and Godfrey Kneller
became court painters.
Only late did European baroque decorative art break through in Great Britain,
especially through the Italian Antonio Verrio (approximately 1639-1707), who from 1676
decorated numerous interiors in royal buildings, including Windsor
Castle and Hampton Court Palace. His successor in the profession was James
The greatest satirist and social reformer of the 18th century was William
Hogarth, who was also an excellent portrait painter, as were Allan
Ramsey, Joshua Reynolds - who became the first director of the Royal Academy of
Arts (grdl. 1768) - and Thomas Gainsborough, followed by George
Romney and Thomas Lawrence.
The history painting was handled by Gavin Hamilton and Benjamin West.
Joseph Wright of Derby and William Blake were highly different
representatives of the Romantics, while George Stubbs was the foremost animal
painter of the period. Among the early landscape painters of the mid-18th
century were Richard Wilson and Alexander Cozens, who both painted heroic
landscapes; Like Thomas Girtin, JR Cozens painted landscapes in watercolor, a
genre that was continued by JS Cotman, who founded the painting
group Norwich School.
RP Bonington painted historical images and landscapes, but only with JMW
Turner and John Constable did Britain gain a leading role in European landscape
Great Britain - visual art 1850-2016
In 1848, the artists' association The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was founded
by WH Hunt, DG Rossetti and JE Millais.
Their medieval and renaissance-inspired art had a major impact on British art
in the latter half of the 19th century, for example on Edward Burne-Jones; he,
along with, among others, GF Watts, Frederick Leighton, Albert Moore (1841-93)
and James McNeill Whistler formed The Aesthetic Movement, a beauty-seeking style
that culminated in Aubrey Beardsley's elegant drawings.
Impressionism was expressed in works by JS Sargent and WR Sickert, who
was a student of Whistler and together with Spencer Gore (1878-1914) a central
figure in the artist group The Camden Town Group, formed in 1911.
Fauvism was taken up by the Bloomsbury group's painters Duncan Grant
(1885-1978) and Vanessa Bell (1879-1961), while Cubism and futurism in the
British context became vorticism, a grouping founded by Wyndham
Lewis in 1914. Jacob Epstein was not a part of this group, but in his sculptures
one finds futuristic stylistic features, mixed with elements from African art.
These stylistic features were cultivated in the interwar years by Henry
Moore and Barbara Hepworth, both active in the artist group Unit One (formed
1933), which also consisted of painters Paul Nash and Ben Nicholson, who worked
in surreal and abstract, constructivist style, respectively.
At the same time, Graham Bell (1910-43) and William Coldstream (1908-87)
attempted a socially critical realism. Likewise figuratively worked Stanley
Spencer, whose distinctive painting from the interwar years was continued
in Lucian Freud's and Francis Bacon's highly expressive figurations from the
1950's and later.
Abstract expressionism in the United States in the 1950's inspired
Patrick Heron (1920-99) and Peter Lanyon (1918-64), both of whom belonged
to the artists' colony of Saint Ives in Cornwall. The broad brushstrokes and
large canvases were continued in the 1960's in William Turnbull's abstract
colorfield painting, while the abstraction found its sculptural expression
in Anthony Caro and Philip King.
In the mid-1950's, British pop art emerged, represented by Richard
Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Blake, RB Kitaj and David
Hockney. International currents such as up art and land art got their British
practitioners in resp. Bridget Riley and Richard Long, while the group Art &
Language, formed by Terry Atkinson in the mid-1960's, became the beginning
of British concept art. Gilbert & Georgesperformance works and Richard Wilson's
(b. 1953) installations are masterpieces from the 1980's, a decade that also saw
the emergence of a new generation of artists, Damien Hirst, Rachel
Whiteread, Sam Taylor-Wood and Gillian Wearing, all starring on the 1990's
British art scene.
However, the British art scene became seriously visible in an international
context in the 1990's. The reason must be found in the generation of young
artists, often referred to as "young British artists", who, out of the
environment around Goldsmiths College in London (an educational institution at
London University), have managed to create great interest in contemporary
British art with works of often ironic, critical and very direct in nature.
In this respect, the annual media event since 1984, the awarding of
the Turner Prize, has been important, as it has put both national and
international focus on British contemporary art.
Art collector Charles Saatchi has also played a significant role with his
leading art purchases and his own exhibition practice. In 1997, Saatchi's
collection could be seen at the much talked about exhibition Sensation at the
Royal Academy in London. Here were works by Jake & Dinos Chapman, Tracey
Emin, Damien Hirst, SamTaylor-Wood, Gillian Wearing and Rachel Whiteread, all
major names on the British contemporary art scene.
Great Britain - crafts and design
From the late Middle Ages to the end of the 17th century, English handicrafts
and furniture largely followed developments in the rest of Europe. From the end
of the period, Grinling Gibbons' (1648-1721) woodcarving works in Saint
Paul's Cathedral and the woven wallpaper from the Mortlake factory near London
In the 18th century, the art of furniture gained a distinctiveness, where
simple design, clean lines and tight solidity dominate in practical and
comfortable furniture in walnut or mahogany; leading cabinetmakers were Thomas
Chippendale, George Hepplewhite and Thomas Sheraton, who also published
illustrated furniture catalogs. Robert Adam introduced an elegant classicism
with painted furniture.
Also in the field of ceramics, the 18th century offered innovations:
stoneware from Staffordshire, basaltware and jasperware by Josiah Wedgwood and
ceramics with printed decoration or luster glaze.
The regency style in the early 1800's was based on the forms and ornamentation
In the second half of the 19th century, England again became a leader in
terms of design. The modern design concept was formulated in theory and practice
by versatile artists such as Owen Jones (1809-74), William
Morris and Christopher Dresser and continued by the Arts and Crafts Movement and
The Aesthetic Movement, which found form inspiration in Gothic and East Asian
Among the leading designers around the year 1900 were CR Ashbee, CFA
Voysey and CR Mackintosh, who in Glasgow created their very own design
line. Among other things, they renewed furniture art, glass, silver, book
crafts, textile prints and glass mosaics.
In England, early experiments were made with laminated wood and chrome-plated
tubular furniture, inspired by Alvar Aalto. Otherwise, British design only
became international norms again from the 1960's. Designer Terence Conran (b.
1931) launched plastic furniture and handicrafts in his Habitat stores, and in
fashion, Mary Quant and later Vivienne Westwood and Alexander McQueen were among
the leading names.
From the 1980's, high tech architect and designer Norman Foster has been an
important figure just like Ross Lovegrove (b. 1959) with postmodern furniture
Great Britain - architecture
Great Britain - architecture, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance
A number of small, towerless stone churches date from the 6th century. From
the 10th century onwards, both church towers and the typically Anglo-Saxon,
lattice-like wall decoration are known, for example in Earl's Barton
Until the 11th century, simple wooden buildings such as the Stave Church in
Greensted, Essex (approximately 1070) were still built. The Romanesque Norman style,
with its simple, massive might, became fundamental to architecture in the
centuries after England's conquest in 1066, thus Durham Cathedral (1093 ff.),
Which also houses Europe's probably earliest rib vault.
The early Gothic, Early English, seen from the 1190's in the
cathedrals of Wells and Lincoln, slipped from approximately 1250 into the richly
ornamented decorated style represented by eg Lady Chapel and the
octagon in Ely Cathedral (1320's).
The last phase of the Gothic period, perpendicular style, arose
approximately 1350 and lasted until after 1600. Especially the decorative equipment
such as the fan vaults in King's College Chapel in Cambridge (1446-1515) and the
open roof chairs, also in secular halls, were from the mid-16th century mixed
with French and Flemish forms as well. features from the Italian Renaissance to
the Tudor style.
Only with the Palladian-Classicist court architect Inigo Jones did English
architecture from the second decade of the 17th century take a whole new
Old English period (to 1100)
The first poem in English - Anglo-Saxon or Old English - is written down
in manuscripts from the 900's, but as early as 731 the Benedictine monk Beda
had completed his Latin Historia Ecclesiastica Gentis Anglorum (Church
History of the English People), of which more than 150 manuscripts have been
The long epic poem Beowulf about the Nordic chief Beowulf's fight
against monsters has probably been created in an oral tradition on the
transition between pre-Christian and Christian times, while it only as a
fragment handed down the poem The Battle of Maldon about Essex
chief Byrhtnoth's desperate defense against invading Danish Vikings in 991 is
written immediately after the event.
The Book of Exeter, an approximately contemporary manuscript
anthology, contains Old English riddles that testify to interest in the
metaphorical possibilities of language, and older elegies: "Deor", "Widsith",
"The Seafarer", "The Wanderer", "The Ruin" and "The Wife's Lament ", all
mourning the perishability of the world.
Some Old English poetry is versions of biblical material, such as the moving
allegorical poem "The Dream of the Rood" (750 or earlier), which describes the
poet's dream of Christ's cross and longing for a pure life.
Middle Ages (1100-1500)
The Norman conquest of England opened the English literature to the influence
of the southern parts of mainland Europe, but the traditions of the Old English
period can be traced back to the Middle Ages.
The Welsh monk and later Bishop Geoffrey of Monmouth wrote in Latin his
version of early Romanesque-Celtic English history in the Historia Regum
Britanniae (approximately 1135). With the assertion of an unbroken line of kings from
the Trojan prince Brutus to the legendary king Arthur and his knights of the
round table, the foundation was laid for a mythical complex that has also
appealed to the literary imagination of recent times.
In the late 1100-t. Layamon wrote a chronicle in English, known as Layamon's
Brut, about the Arthurian legends, primarily based on the Anglo -
Norman Waces Roman de Brut, a French version of Monmouth (see
also Arthurian poetry).
The anonymous The Owl and the Nightingale from the early 1200's,
which allows the two birds to present prejudices about each other, is in the
Latin debate tradition and perhaps written as an entertaining lesson to one of
the numerous but not highly learned nuns of the time, as the rule Ancrene
Riwle (approximately 1220) also targets.
The contemporary continental-European literary worship of "courtly love" was
combined in England with the Arthurian legends; a result of which is seen in the
anonymous story of the verse Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (second
half of 1300-t.)
Like other texts, Patience, Cleanness and Pearl,
attributed to the Gawain poet, it is a work that rises above most of the
contemporary. Where the Gawain poem orients itself back in time to a mythical
culture, William Langland's Piers Plowman (approximately 1380), on the other
hand, is a Christian hymn.
The poem takes the form of a dream vision of God's creation on the basis of
the concrete English reality, which in William Langland's time had experienced
both royal power struggle, plague and John Wycliffe's and his lollard's pre -
Reformation protests against the church's authority.
During Richard II's reign 1377-99, English was again the standard language
after 250 years of social exile, but greatly changed after significant
Norman-French influence. The international orientation of the London metropolis
is expressed in the modern English flexible English of the politician and
official Geoffrey Chaucer, who in his great works Troilus and Criseyde (approximately
1382-85) and The Canterbury Tales (approximately 1387-1400) reflects the entire
international literary literature of the Middle Ages. horizon.
The moral John Gower (approximately 1330-1408), Geoffrey Chaucer's contemporary, has
stood in the shadow of his friend, probably because he had the religious
structure in mind, for example in Confessio Amantis (1386-90), rather
than the everyday detail and the ironic feints, as one knows it from Chaucer.
The forerunners of the theater that was to flourish in Renaissance London
were medieval miracle plays, moralities, and mystery plays. The text versions of
the four mystery game cycles: York (48 games), Chester (24 games), Wakefield (32
games) and an unknown central English city (42 games) date from the mid-1400's.
The popular games enjoyed progress until the Reformation stopped this form of
entertainment. Among the many religious writers of the late Middle Ages, the
passionate Margery Kempe is one of the first whose literary efforts in The
Book of Margery Kempe (1436-38) are marked by an actual autobiography.
The ravages and significance of the Rose Wars for the individual's daily life
can be read about in the letters exchanged in the Paston family (from 1422-1509,
but first published 1787-89). For English literature, the collaboration between
the author and aristocrat Thomas Malory (died c. 1471) and the printer and
citizen William Caxton was to be groundbreaking.
While Thomas Malory was imprisoned for various criminal acts, he worked on
the Arthurian legends in eight episodes; these were re-edited into 24 books and
printed and published as Morte Darthur (1485) by Caxton, who in 1475
had printed the first book in English, Recuyell of the Historyes of Troye.
With the art of printing, the Reformation, and intercontinental voyages of
discovery, conquest, and trade, the century of the Renaissance in England was a
changeable but also dynamic period that seriously placed England in a European
John Skelton, pastor and tutor of the young Henry VIII, was well acquainted
with classical literature, but preferred English traditions and a simple,
powerful language, so that learned, non-clergy courtiers such as Thomas
Wyatt and Henry Howard Surrey, which introduced Italian verse forms such as the
sonnet, ottava rima, terza rima as well as the unrhymed iambic five-foot verse,
which would later become the English poets' preferred form of expression.
Thomas Wyatt's and Henry Howard Surrey's elegant, courtly love poem
circulated in their own time in manuscripts among the nobility, and the nine
printed versions from 1557 and 30 years onwards, known as Tottel's
Miscellany, also set the norm for the verbal handling of love in broader
The worship of Plato, which in the Renaissance replaced the medieval
Aristotelian-scholastic tradition, was represented by the English
humanists Thomas More, Thomas Elyot (1490-1546) and Roger Ascham
(1515-68). They combined their knowledge of the language and philosophy of
antiquity with an interest in the development of society, as expressed, for
example, in Thomas More's Utopia (1516).
The English Reformation, the course of which was largely due to realpolitik
considerations, is reflected in John Fox's Book of Martyrs (1563), a
literary monument to a rather brutal period that also included a translation
into English of the Bible. John Wycliffe had already caused a translation of the
Latin Vulgate as early as the 1380's, but it was the translator Miles
Coverdale (approximately 1488-1569) who in 1535 provided the text for the first complete,
printed English Bible.
A Great Bible, which Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in his 1539
ordinance required the church to use, was pieced together by many different
single translators, the most notable of which was William Tyndale, who in 1536
was burned as a heretic in Brussels.
A more user-friendly, Calvinist-inspired translation, known as the Geneva
Bible, was created during the exile of English Protestants during the
reign of the Catholic Queen Mary I (1553-58). The more Vulgate- oriented
version of the bishops came in 1568, but a final, royally authorized translation
was commissioned by James I (James I) in 1604.
In 1611, 54 learned translators were able to present the King James Bible as
a work that, however, had many contributions from both the Geneva Bible and
In the secular prose of the time, the enthusiasm for antiquity showed
itself. Philip Sidney's Arcadia (1581) used the classical pastoral as a
framework for stories that illustrated the contradictions of life and set the
standard for elegant English, while John Lyly's Euphues: The Anatomy of Wit (1578)
stretched the rhetorical arc to the breaking point.
Sensation for a wider audience than the court is seen in the
novel-anticipating stories of Thomas Deloney (1543-1600) and Robert Greene
(1543-1600). A sober, descriptive prose was also used in the many narratives
that followed the incipient geographical expansion.
In 1533, Henry VIII appointed John Leland (approximately 1506-52) as royal antiquarian
in charge of historical and topographical studies, and Raphael
Holinshed collected in his Chronicles (1577) material on the real and
mythical history of the nation. They became a goldmine for his contemporary and
immediate posterity playwrights.
Richard Hakluyt published accounts of the new worlds in The Principal
Navigations, Voiages and Discoveries of the English Nation (1589 and later
expanded editions), and he also published the empire-thinking Walter
Raleigh's reports from the mercantile voyages of discovery.
The idea of order, harmony and symmetry between the earthly, with the
monarch as the rallying point, and the heavenly permeates the literature of the
Elizabethan period. Walter Raleigh praises, for example, Elizabeth I in both
prose and poetry, and in Edmund Spenser's long and learned epic poem The
Faerie Queene (books 1-3, 1590, and books 4-6, 1596), a major work in the
English Renaissance, is the Virgin Queen also the focal point.
Both Edmund Spenser and William Shakespeare also cultivated the shorter
lyrical genres, particularly the sonnet, and literary criticism found its early
practitioners in Philip Sidney and George Puttenham (approximately 1520-90).
But it was the play that was to stand as the literary center of gravity of
the English Renaissance. While the Reformation had removed the foundations of
the Catholic mystery games, the acting tradition lived on, but now with worldly
The first English playwright, John Bale, combined in King John (approximately
1538) and three other pieces of antipapist propaganda with patriotic royal
flattery. The students of the Latin schools and the students of the universities
were active actors and performed both their own plays and the classics, of which
the bloody revenge dramas of the Roman Seneca in particular were favored.
In Gorboduc (1562) by Thomas Norton (1532-84) and Thomas Sackville
(1536-1608), reference is made to a mythical national past, and in this prince's
mirror the difference between an orderly and a chaotic state is shown. Thomas
Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy (b. 1592) had an unprecedented individualized
main character and made the revenge drama a popular genre.
Christopher Marlowe explored human ambitions and dreams, while William
Shakespeare, the lesser scholar of the two, showed an ingenious sense of drama
as a performing art and existential exploration. At the same time, Ben
Jonson dealt with a slightly more modest but highly entertaining level of
temperaments and character flaws in temperament comedy.
The divided century (1600-1700)
While there took care broad entertainment in the theater houses, entertained
Jakob 1st and Karl 1st courts with masques (masques), spectacular
stagings of themes that paid tribute to the monarchy and with the court's own
people as participants.
The growing distance between monarch and subjects, which would later lead to
two revolutions, together with Protestantism's focus on the individual, formed
the main background for a new worldview and outlook on life.
Francis Bacon's essays (1597) helped pave the way for a rationalist way of
thinking that can be found with different starting points and goals in Robert
Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (1621), Thomas Brownes (1605-82) Religio
Medici (1642) and Thomas Hobbes' Leviathan (1651), who gained his
institutional framework with the establishment of an Academy of Sciences, The
Royal Society, in 1660.
While the tradition of elegant courtly poetry was continued by the cavalry
poets Thomas Carew, John Suckling (1609-42), Richard Lovelace (1618-57), Edmund
Waller (1606-87), Abraham Cowley (1618-67) and Robert Herrick, the tone had
become markedly fervent and the style radically religiously sought after by John
Donne, George Herbert, Richard Crashaw (approximately 1613-1649) and Henry Vaughan
The combination of Protestant faith, classical doctrine, rational approach,
and idealistic individualism was found in John Milton, who supported Oliver
Cromwell's Commonwealth Republic in deed and writing. His reputation in
posterity is first and foremost secured with Paradise Lost (1667) and
the sequel Paradise Regained (1671), the large-scale Protestant
counterpart to Dante's Divine Comedy.
While John Milton's epic is aimed at the general public, the period's many
diary writers are a sign of the growing interest in formulating themselves about
the private. Lady Hutchinson (1620-?), For example, recounts the life of her
Republican-active husband, and Samuel Pepys writes down his swarming impressions
of today's significant as well as trivial events.
The English Reformation had its Anglican cornerstone in the authorized King
James' Bible of 1611 and its confessional dogma established in the Book
of Common Prayer in 1662, but it was with the priest John
Bunyan's allegorical The Pilgrim's Progress (part 1 1678 and part 2
1684), that the more radical-Puritan low-church movement gained its first
literary reference point.
The reinstatement - the restoration - of the Stuarts in 1660 meant a flare-up
of a court-centered cultural life, and the arrogant, cynical and mundane-weary
tone of the cavalry poems is found in the satires of John Wilmot Rochester and
in the witty seat comedies of George Etherege (approximately 1635-92) and William
Wycherley (1640-1716), whom the court favored.
The seat comedy of the Restoration era continued as the now established genre
after the system change in 1688, but in a broader socially defined framework,
with pieces by William Congreve, John Vanbrugh and George Farquhar
(1678-1707). Samuel Butler's far-reaching satirical poem Hudibras (1663-78) had
a broad and long-lasting appeal.
Aphra Behn, the first professional female writer of English literary
history, delivered with a sense of market fiction and acting with bold wit; her Oroonoko,
or the History of a Royal Slave (1688) reflects her own experience of
oppression both as a colonizer and a courtesan.
The learned and text-skilled John Dryden, who considered himself the
nation's official poet, also wrote pieces for performance at court, and his
satirical pen was often used to support the re-established monarchy, including
the Catholic sympathies of the monarchs who were on a collision course with,
what the still stronger bourgeois England wanted.
Neoclassicism and bourgeoisie (1700-1790)
After rejecting the absolute monarchy with the revolution of 1688 and in the
consciousness of a rapidly growing global empire, England saw itself as a new
Both Jonathan Swift and Alexander Pope wrote their satires and epistles after
the Roman model, while the great nature poem of the time in elegiac tone The
Seasons (first part 1726, rev. Numerous times until 1746) by James
Thomson had Vergil's idylls as a model; however, the poem also provided space
for reflections on the new worldview that Isaac Newton had introduced.
While Joseph Addison and Richard Steele (1672-1729) with their Spectator
(1711-12 and 1714), a forerunner of later newspapers, helped to define the civic
virtues of a new age, realistic prose fiction was central to a new mass market
Daniel Defoe, Samuel Richardson, Henry Fielding, Sarah Fielding (1710-68)
and Charlotte Lennox (1720-1804) wrote about the lives and destinies of ordinary
people with daily life as a recurring backdrop. Together with Tobias
Smollett's picaresque stories and Laurence Stern's self-reflective Tristram
Shandy (1760-67), they show the range of mass-produced prose fiction that
felt so refreshingly new that in English it was simply given the genre
designation novel ('new').
English 1700's drama was in many ways a continuation of the seat comedy, with
a keen eye for human weaknesses and hypocrisy, as seen both in Beggar's
Opera (1728) by John Gay and in Oliver Goldsmith's and Richard Sheridan's
development of the witty restoration comedy.
In poetry, the predilection of neoclassicism for the restrained and moderate
was gradually replaced by a propensity for the felt that ran parallel to the
Methodist low-church revival; it is seen in John Wesley's hymn collections.
The standard for so-called cemetery poetry was set by Thomas Gray in his
"Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard" (1751), but is also seen in Oliver
Goldsmith's elegy The Deserted Village (1770). It is about life in the
countryside after the statutory fencing of the poor farmers 'common grazing
areas in favor of the lord's large-scale operation and about the emigration to
the cities' growing industry.
Sides of the more sentimental attitude are also seen in the worship of the
Gothic in prose fiction (see Gothic literature) and the growing interest in
folklore, as evidenced by Thomas Percy's publication of collected folk songs, Reliques
of Ancient English Poetry (1765).
The encyclopedic interests of the writer Samuel Johnson, classically formed
tastes, legendary diligence and insatiable appetite for life, which not
infrequently went against him, have often been used as a symbol of a century
that heralded modernity in English literature, but at the same time held on to
the classical ideals.
The romance of English literature is in many ways a protest movement, both
political, spiritual and aesthetic. Although Edmund Burke called for political
restraint in his Reflections on the Revolution in France (1790), the
predominantly literary-intellectual mood was in the period of the overthrow of
established institutions and truths.
Thomas Paine's The Rights of Man (1791-92) put the radical political
agenda together with social philosophical writings and prose fiction of
William Godwin and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as poetry by William
Cowper. William Blake registered poverty and freedom in a personal revelatory
mythology of epic dimensions, and the young William Wordsworth wrote
enthusiastically about revolution and the groundbreaking escape of thought,
while Robert Southey and Samuel Taylor Coleridge had plans to create a
"municipality" in the United States.
William Wordsworth's and Samuel Taylor Coleridge's joint writing and
publishing project Lyrical Ballads (1798) signaled a break with
centuries of tradition for a special lyrical language register and recommended a
poetic language that reflected common language usage.
Also Lord Byron and Percy Bysshe Shelley idealistically advocated for
equality, freedom and brotherhood, whereas John Keats preferred the less direct
tone of a lyric characterized by a desire to experiment with and put himself
beyond the traditionally given idiom in trying to combine a saturated texture
with abstract ideas.
While the lyric explored the imagery's ability to express states of mind and
emotions, the prose proved to be able to deal more flexibly with the reflection
of everyday life to which the novel had become exponent, as seen in Jane
Austen's seat novels, Walter Scott's historical narratives, and Maria
Edgeworth's social writings. in fictional form.
Numerous and popular essays by William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Thomas De
Quincey and Thomas Love Peacock testify that essay writing had also found a form
that worked in relation to topics and audiences.
Victorian and Edwardian period (1830-1920)
The energy that characterized British industry, trade, and colonial expansion
in the first half of the 1800's is reflected in the literature of the
period. Symptomatic literary expressions are Thomas Carlyle's hero
worship, Charles Kingsley's "muscular Christianity" and Thomas Babington
Macaulay's optimistic-liberal historiography.
But that material progress also had a downside is evident in the great prose
writer of the time, Charles Dickens, who had a keen eye for human costs. While
Dickens maintained a belief in the victory of the good, there is bitter societal
criticism in Elizabeth Gaskell. William Makepeace Thackeray and Anthony
Trollope each viewed in their own way the human comedy of the Victorian era from
an exalted perspective, and far away from the socially polarized life of the
metropolis, the Brontë sisters wrote demonized tales of rural life.
There are strong reverberations of the romance in Alfred Tennyson's poetry,
which at the same time sing of progress and express a sense of personal
powerlessness, bordering on longing for death.
Tennyson's ambiguous attitude of faith and doubt became characteristic of
much English literature from the mid-1800's. until the First World War and the
breakthrough of modernism. Novelists such as George Eliot and George
Meredith opposed conventional morality, while the pre-Raphaelite lyricists and
the highly productive Robert Browning sought refuge in an idiosyncratic evoked
Doubt and longing for spiritual and aesthetic clues characterize Matthew
Arnold's poetry and essay writing, but where Arthur Hugh Clough chose the
agnostic position, others such as prose writer and theologian John Henry
Newman and lyricist Gerard Manley Hopkins chose to convert to Catholicism.
Lewis Carroll and Edward Lear contributed their reality- and
language-problematizing prose and verse from "child height" to children being
considered independent individuals and not imperfect adults.
Towards the end of the century, English literature became, to a large extent,
an instrument for the exploration of alternatives to Victorian-era implemented
bourgeois views of life. A showdown with Anglican Christianity finds expression
in Mary Ward's (1851-1920) novels, and Samuel Butler's distancing himself from
accepted Victorian values also problematizes the Darwinian theory, which
gained more and more ground.
With Walter Pater's cult of the purely aesthetic, for example in the novel Marius
the Epicurean (1885), the so-called decadent current culminated, which was
the pre-Raphaelite's contribution to post-romanticism, and which acquired
different but still conscious aesthetic expressions from both the Browning
couple, Algernon Charles Swinburne and William Morris.
While the novelists George Robert Gissing and Arnold Bennett sought to
realize a French-inspired naturalism on English soil, the 1800's and early 1900's
English novels were characterized by a realism that contained elements of
"romance", ie. features in both structure (eg melodrama) and subject (eg demon)
that complement a traditional perception of reality with pronounced fantasy
This is clearly seen in the prose fiction of HG Wells, A. Conan
Doyle, Wilkie Collins, Bram Stoker and Robert Louis Stevenson, which was also
to form the basis of much of the 1900's mass-widespread genre fiction. In
both Thomas Hardy, whose subdued tone has much in common with the equally
gloomy-minded lyricist AE Housman, and Joseph Conrad, this particular form of
"romantic" realism sets itself through in the form of a sometimes almost
Rudyard Kipling's verse and prose fiction is a tribute to the British Empire
as a global force of civilization, whereas the empire theme is played through in
moles in Conrad's tales.
The American prose writer Henry James, who lived in England, was interested
in the significance of the encounter between different national cultures, and in
the equally internationally oriented EM Forster's prose fiction, a
claustrophobic image of bourgeois England is drawn as a prison of the soul.
Although theater was an immensely popular entertainment medium in 1800's
England with melodrama as the preferred genre, new playwright talents were not
fostered until the end of the century with Henrik Ibsen as the model.
Arthur Pinero wrote well-made plays on stripe, but with a growing
socially and culturally critical angle. In effervescent dialogues, Oscar
Wilde impaled bourgeois childishness, and George Bernard Shaw turned upside down
adopted ideas and norms.
Both Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw and WB Yeats had an Irish background,
but only Yeats, as one of the initiators of the Irish Renaissance, gained
importance in his homeland with plays in national-mythological style.
The last reverberation of romance is found in Edward Marsh's (1872-1953)
extremely popular collections Georgian Poetry, 1-5 (1912-22), whose
patriotic-idyllic tone, like the entire Victorian and Edwardian worlds, was
destroyed by World War I.
The literary monument of the war was set in the elegiac and ironic lyricism
of the "trench poets," which effectively expressed the sense of general
existential disillusionment which became one of the starting points of modernist
Modernism and after (from 1920)
Literary modernism in England articulated the feeling of meaninglessness in
the wake of World War I, but had many and varied elements. In a purely literary
context, the inspiration came from French symbolism, as is clear from the prose
and poetry of the American-born TS Eliot and from the Anglo-American
collaboration in the metaphorical imaginative movement (see imagism).
The American-British cosmopolitan Wyndham Lewis, James Joyce, Dorothy
Richardson, Virginia Woolf and DH Lawrence expressed prose fiction in the
awareness of the connection between the experience of the outside world and the
literary accounts of it.
The Bloomsbury group and the three siblings Sitwell radicalized English
intellectual life in conflict with Victorian norms, and Robert Graves and David
Jones (1895-1974) worked on their war experience in respectively. traditional
and experimental prose.
Aldous Huxley and Evelyn Waugh challenged with great wit and some arrogance
traditional attitudes in a number of novels in the 1920's and 1930's. The growing
political polarization, not least under the influence of events abroad,
generally allied the literature of the 1930's with the left, as seen by the
poets WH Auden, Stephen Spender, Louis MacNeice, Cecil Day Lewis and Hugh
MacDiarmid, and the prose writer George Orwell.
Graham Greene followed his own path in a successful exploitation of the
thriller's format for exploring morality and conscience. World War II did not
yield such a markedly groundbreaking literary result as the first, but lyricists
Keith Douglas (1920-44) and Alun Lewis (1915-44), like their trench
predecessors, also captured the horrors of this war with suggestive precision.
During the interwar period, English theater had mainly cultivated the play
(Noel Coward and JB Priestley), but with the sober 1950's, a new seriousness
entered the drama. Samuel Beckett's absurd drama, like its author, had an
international frame of reference, but with John Osborne's Look Back in Anger (1956)
there was room for national self-criticism.
The interweaving of socially critical topics and the reality - problematic
possibilities of the absurd theater are characteristic of English drama
since: John Arden, Arnold Wesker, Harold Pinter, Joe Orton, Tom
Stoppard, Edward Bond, Alan Ayckbourn.
Some novelists, Kingsley Amis, John Wain and John Braine, viewed with
some cynicism post-war England and thus continued the 1900's tradition of the
state-of-England novel, from the 1960's eminently represented by Margaret
Others were drawn to the fictional possibilities of fiction, such as Lawrence
Durrell, John Fowles, Anthony Burgess, AS Byatt, Angela Carter, Jeanette
Winterson (b. 1959). Doris Lessing, Anthony Powell and CP Snow used the long
epic novel in many volumes to map British society each from its point of view,
while Paul Scott and JG Farrell kindly followed the British Empire to the door.
Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Geoffrey Hill, Tony Harrison and Seamus
Heaney have set high standards for British poetry, which since the 1950's has
been a highly productive but not very experimental genre.
Over the last few decades of the 1900's, there has been a clear development
towards a British literature that breaks with traditional frameworks in terms of
nationality, gender, class and media.
A new, internationally oriented consciousness, often linked to a sense of
rootlessness after the dissolution of the empire, to regionalization desires and
to the sense of the world as a "global village" is evident in, for example,
novelists Salman Rushdie, Timothy Mo, Julian Barnes, Kazuo
Ishiguro and Martin Amis and the lyricists Moniza Alvi (b. 1954) and David
Dabydeen (b. 1955), whose relationship to Britain does not have the uniqueness
of the past. See also Scotland literature and Ireland literature.
Great Britain - theater
Great Britain has made a strong mark in the field of theater since the Middle
Ages. From the first liturgical plays and the secular farces to the mystery
plays and moralities of the late Middle Ages, many texts and descriptions of
theater culture have been preserved. Biblical motifs alternated with
coarse-grained scenes in these games, which were performed simultaneously,
i.e. at the same time, by the artisan laves on chariots in processions. In the
moralities, virtues and vices were personified in edifying settings for the
people as in The Castell of Perseverance (approximately 1425) or the
Dutch-translated Everyman. But also Roman classics like Plautus and
Seneca were performed in the more learned college and university environments.
During the Renaissance under Elizabeth I, theater life flourished in earnest
and laid the groundwork for the international fame of British theater. Classical
and national narratives often formed the basis of contemporary tragedies and
comedies performed by professional troops associated with the court or
nobility. The interim stage productions prevented actual theater houses from
being designed to make the performance of plays a profitable business. The plays
were performed with strong sympathy from the audience on the floor stands in the
open theater houses and in the covered lodges on the floors, first in
The Theater (1576) and later in The Globe Theater(1599) on the outskirts of
London. In this lush theatrical setting, one of history's greatest playwrights,
William Shakespeare, worked and created his works with both philosophical
insight, linguistic virtuosity, and a sense of the theatre's demands for
suspense, humor, and entertainment; Shakespeare himself was an actor and knew
the means of his profession. Although the theater of the time did not allow
women on stage, but had the female figures produced by young men, he managed to
portray most of the facets of human life both in the relations of the sexes and
in the struggles of power. Shakespeare was not only in Elizabethan theater, but
competed with playwrights such as Ben Jonson, Christopher Marlowe, John Ford (c.
1586-c. 1639) and John Webster, just as the Italian stage machinery was
introduced to the aristocracy by Inigo Jones in the so-called masques. (mask
play), which can be seen as the transition from masquerades to later ballet
After a long puritanical period during Cromwell's Civil War and after the
theaters closed in 1642-60, a new heyday arose with the Restoration
period. French classicism inspired John Dryden (An Essay of Dramatick
Poetry, 1668 and the tragedy All For Love, 1677), while seat
comedies with daring intrigues and witty revelations of human performance in the
upper classes, by playwrights such as William Congreve, William Wycherley (1640-
1716) and George Farquhar (1678-1707), gained a hearing in response to
Puritanism and provided space for women on the indoor scenes (Drury Lane,
1643), which now emerged.
In the 1700's. continued interest in the light and elegant comedy with RB
Sheridan The School for Scandal (1777) and Oliver Goldsmith as the
greatest writers alongside John Gay (The Beggar's Opera, 1728) and
George Lillos' (1693-1739) bourgeois drama (The London Merchant,
1731). In 1765, Sadler's Wells Theater received a new theater building, later
home to the Royal Ballet. 1700-t. became at the same time the starting point for
the actors' central position in British theater, led by big names such as David
Garrick and Edmund Kean.
In the 1800's. continued this acting tradition with Ellen Terry and Henry
Irving, while the drama of the Romantic era stood in the shadow of poetry and
only really unfolded again in the last decade, and then with two Irish-born
playwrights: Oscar Wilde, who with his poignant wit and satirical distance built
on the restoration comedy, and George Bernard Shaw, who mastered both the
Ibsen-inspired, socially critical discussion drama and the spirited comedy. At
the turn of the century, WS Gilbert and Arthur Sullivan introduced their
entertaining musical theater tradition (HMS Pinafore, 1878, The
Mikado, 1885), which became a forerunner of today's British musical. In the
field of scenography, however, Ellen Terry's son Gordon Craig appeared at the
turn of the century as the great stylistic innovator with greater influence
abroad than at home.
The beginning of the 1900's was marked by the well-made playat
the many West End theaters in London with playwrights such as Noel Coward and
Terence Rattigan (1911-77), who carried British comedy traditions further in the
play, while the more literary drama was cultivated by TS Eliot and Christopher
Fry. In 1932, the Shakespeare Memorial Theater was established in the national
poet's hometown of Stratford-upon-Avon, where he had been occasionally
celebrated, first by David Garrick in 1769. From the mid-1950's, a new heyday of
British theater emerged, partly with the introduction of the so-called
absurdists (the Irishman Samuel Beckett and the Romanian Eugène Ionesco), partly
through a new wave of British playwrights, the "angry young men" (John Osborne,
Arnold Wesker, Edward Bond) with a socially engaged drama and with Harold Pinter
as a kind of link between the social and the absurd.Old Vic in 1963 under the
direction of the then leading actor, Laurence Olivier, and for the construction
of the new National Theater in 1976. At the same time, the Shakespeare tradition
was renewed at the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in London and
Stratford-upon-Avon under the direction of directors Peter Hall and Trevor
Nunn. In 1982, RSC got a new theater in the Barbican Center, just as in 1997 a
faithful copy of the Globe Theater in London was inaugurated.
Around the year 2000, a flourishing musical wave with Andrew Lloyd Webber at
the helm of London's West End is seen side by side with a new generation of
playwrights, such as Sarah Kane (1971-1999) and Mark Ravenhill, who have broken
through at the smaller fringe theaters and Royal Court Theater, which
throughout the 1900's. has been home to the innovations of diverse British
Great Britain - film
The French Lumière brothers directed the first film screening in London in
1896, but British film pioneers designed the apparatus themselves and soon made
inventive and original films, such as GA Smiths (1864-1959), Grandma's
Reading Glass (1900) and Cecil Hepworths (1874-1953).) Rescued by
Rover (1905). British film, however, lagged behind from approximately 1910
In the late 1920's came a certain revival with Anthony Asquith and
especially Alfred Hitchcock, whose talent for cinematic suspense was already
seen in The Lodger (1926, The London Mystery). Hitchcock took
audio file while opportunities up in Blackmail (1929 kidnap)
and his action movies, such as The 39 Steps (1935, The 39 Steps)
and The Lady Vanishes (1938, A Woman disappears), made him a
British film's most successful filmmaker in he traveled to the United States in
In the 1930's, it succeeded in partially curbing Hollywood's dominance with
quota legislation, just as singing films with roots in the music-hall tradition
became popular. Producer Alexander Korda was successful with The Private
Life of Henry VIII (1933, Henry the Eighth's Private Life) and
continued with pompous costume films aimed at the American market.
At the same time, at the initiative of John Grierson, a state-sponsored
documentary film production began, and classics such as Night Mail (1936)
made British documentary film a model. During World War II, a number of
emergency films were produced, and the war was also the subject of many feature
films, such as Noel Coward and David Leans In Which We Serve (1942, The
Sea is Our Destiny).
In the post-war years came several major works, including Laurence Oliviers Hamlet (1948)
and Carol Reeds The Third Man (1949, The Third Man), the
partner couple Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger made overstretched
technicolor dramas, among others. The Red Shoes (1948, The Red
Shoes), and David Lean distinguished himself as one of the most prominent
filmmakers with Brief Encounter (1945, The brief meeting)
and Oliver Twist (1948). The Ealing studio, led by Michael Balcon,
became famous for his subtle comedies, such as Whiskey Galore(1949, Lots
of Whiskey) and Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949, Seven Little
Sins). In the 1950's, Hammerstudiet similarly became known for its horror
Based on the documentary movement Free Cinema and new socially critical
literature, original, socially engaged directors emerged in the late 1950's,
often associated with the new wave in France, among others. Tony
Richardson, Karel Reisz and Lindsay Anderson.
In the 1960's, Richard Lester's Beatles films and the James Bond series,
produced in close collaboration with Hollywood, enjoyed great international
success. British film production benefited from the capital injection from the
United States, but from 1970, declining investment and fewer cinema visits led
to a deep crisis. At the same time, however, the prominent social realists Ken
Loach and Mike Leigh and the extravagant stylists Ken Russell and Nicolas Roeg
Producer David Puttnam played an important role in British film's short-lived
success wave around 1980 with a number of commercial film-trained directors,
including Alan Parker, brothers Ridley and Tony Scott as well as Hugh Hudson
(b. 1936), whose Chariots of Fire (1981, The Will to Victory)
won an Oscar. The television company Channel Four invested in film production
and created the basis for a number of acclaimed films, such as Stephen Frears' My
Beautiful Laundrette (1985, My Beautiful Laundry). Deliberately
aestheticizing directors like Derek Jarman, Peter Greenaway, Terence Davies (b.
1945) and Sally Potter (b. 1949) created a number of notable films. The British
tradition of tasteful costume film is continued in films like James Ivorys A
Room with a View (1986 View Room), Ang Lee (b. 1954) Sense
and Sensibility (1995, Reason and feeling) and John Madden (b.
1949) Shakespeare in Love (1998).
During the 1990's, film production almost doubled, due to increased public
subsidies and international hits. The romantic comedy with a special British
flavor had a major international breakthrough with Mike Newell's (b. 1942) Four
Weddings and a Funeral (1994, Four Weddings and a Funeral),
followed by Notting Hill (1999) and Bridget Jones's Diary (2001, Bridget
Jones' Diary). A group of films based on the British working class with
humor and warmth achieved a similar success, especially Peter Cattaneo's (b.
1964) stripper comedy The Full Monty (1997, Det 'bare men),
as well as Mark Hermans (b. 1954) Brassed Off(1996) and Stephen
Daldrys (b. 1961) Billy Elliott (2000). Since 2000, the American-funded
but British-made Harry Potter series (since 2001) has been prominent. In the
field of animation, the studio Aardman Animations has become famous for their
modeling wax films, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Walter
and the Faithful - The Great Vegetable Cup).
Renewal with a young, dynamic expression was seen in Danny
Boyle's humorous junkie portrayal Trainspotting (1997) and in Guy
Ritchie's (b. 1968) crime comedies, as well as Jonathan Glazers' (b. 1965) crime
thriller Sexy Beast (2000). Mike Leigh and Ken Loach are both still
artistically prominent; the same goes for the versatile Michael Winterbottom.
Britain - the British crime genre
British culture has a special tradition of crime fiction that has
characterized both literature, film and television. After pioneers such as
Wilkie Collins, whose novel The Moonstone (1868, then the Moonstone,
1920) is considered the first real crime novel, and Dickens, whose last work was
the unfinished crime novel The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1870, then Edwin
Drood's Secret)), the genre reached a climax with Conan Doyle, whose novels
and short stories about Sherlock Holmes (ed. 1887-1927) present a type of
detective who, through shrewd use of inductive methods, solves crimes that are
often part of complicated puzzle-like intrigues. In the early 1900-t. the main
character was the extremely productive Edgar Wallace, but since then the
detective novel has followed in Sherlock Holmes' footsteps with related
detectives with Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple), Dorothy L.
Sayers (Lord Peter Wimsey) and most recently with PD James (Adam Dalgliesh). The
characters have not least retained their popularity through film and television.
Another direction that has characterized British crime fiction is the spy and
agent genre with writers such as Eric Ambler, Graham Greene, John Le Carré, Len
Deighton, Ian Fleming and Frederick Forsyth. This also includes several of
Hitchcock's films from the 1930's, including The 39 Steps (1935, The
39 Steps), Carol Reeds The Third Man (1949, The Third Man)
with screenplay by Greene as well as the entire series of James Bond films
(1962-), based on Fleming's books; in addition, successful TV series have been
made about le Carré, eg Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy (1979, The Spy
Who Came Into the Circle) and Smiley's People (1982, Till
Death Do You Divide), and two American film adaptations (1973, 1997) of
Forsyth's breakthrough novel, The Day of the Jackal (1971, The
Great Britain - dance
In the 18th century, a number of action ballets were created in London,
including by John Weaver (1673-1760), and in the following centuries there was a
lively dance activity in the town, especially with guest dancers from outside.
In the 1840's, the romantic ballet was introduced, but the entertaining
dominated, with Pas de Quatre (1845), in which the most celebrated
ballerinas of the period danced. In the late 1800's, ballet life concentrated on
the amusement establishments Alhambra (1871) and The London Empire
(1884). Eventually, the Danish-British ballerina Adeline Genée became
the attraction from 1897.
The openness to foreign dance continued in the 20th century, in parallel with
London having its own dance life. Ninette de Valois (b. 1898) founded a school
in 1926. From here the dancers came to The Vic-Wells Ballet, which later became
The Sadler's Wells Ballet, which in 1946 moved to Covent Garden and in 1956
became The Royal Ballet. Here Frederick Ashton was the main choreographer and
became ballet master in 1963, replaced 1970-77 by Kenneth MacMillan. Later
ballet masters are Norman Morrice (1977-86) followed by Anthony Dowell
(1986-2001). From 2003 Monica Mason is ballet master.
In 1920, the Polish-British Marie Rambert opened a school, which in 1930 led
to The Ballet Club, from 1935 Ballet Rambert. Ninette de Valois and Marie
Rambert both came from Diaghilev 's Ballets Russes, as did Alicia Markova
(1910-2004) and Anton Dolin (1904-83), who in 1951 created the London Festival
Ballet, from the 1989 English National Ballet.
In the mid-1950's, London opened up to "the new dance" with the London
Contemporary Dance School and the London Contemporary Dance Theater giving their
first performance in 1967.
Modern choreographers such as Richard Alston (b. 1948), Christopher Bruce,
Michael Clark (b. 1962) and the Danish Kim Brandstrup and not least the very
popular Matthew Bourne, who connects the classical with the modern, appeared.
Powerful groups such as Lloyd Newsons (b. 1957) DV8 Physical Theater, founded
in 1986, have also helped to make London an interesting dance city with the
theater The Place as its inspiring center. Outside London, the major companies
are the Scottish Ballet and the Birmingham Ballet.
Great Britain - dance - folk dance
England's major contribution to European dance culture is country
dances. Their popularity was strengthened by John Playford's (1623-approx. 1669)
collection The English Dancing-Master, published in 1651. In the 18th
century, they developed into fashion dances in Scotland and Ireland.
Around 2000, morris dance and sword dance are performed as a show dance on
traditional holidays such as Christmas, May 1 and Pentecost as well as in social
Jig is widespread throughout the UK and is part of morris and step
dance. Step and clog dance, which is danced with shoes with wooden soles,
occurs especially in competitions and existed in an unbroken tradition until
World War II (eg Lancashire Clog Dance).
Characteristic of these dances are rapid heel and toe stamping in complex and
syncopated rhythms as well as sliding steps. The same family includes skill
dances with jumping over a stick, broom dance or the like
The male dance hornpipe has roots in the maritime culture; it became very
popular in the 19th century as a stage dance (Sailor's Hornpipe) and gained
status as an English national dance. Other important dance forms
are real, square dance and couple dance. In the early 1900's, the revival
movement and Cecil Sharp's folk dance collections contributed to the
transmission of the dances.
Great Britain - sports
Britain played the central role in the expansion of the modern sports
movement in the late 1800's, when sports were made widely available, nationally
organized and commercially mature. The English public schools, in contrast to
the continent's various gymnastics systems, developed their own form of physical
activity for the youth (games and sports), where especially the ball
games, especially cricket, football and rugby, were highlighted for their
character building among the athletes.
The sport was given the status of moral discipline (sportsmanship),
also in relation to the colonies of the empire, see sport. The first official
meeting of the empire's athletes took place as part of the coronation
celebrations for George V in 1911, and since 1930, the Commonwealth Games
have been held every four years.
As a ball-playing nation, the UK has made a name for itself internationally
in football, rugby and cricket. In addition, British athletes have
dominated in motorsport and athletics. The Olympics were held in London in
1908 and 1948, and the city once again hosted the 2012 Olympics.
United Kingdom (Kitchen)
A solid and simple country kitchen forms the basis of British cuisine, but
influence from parts of the former empire, especially from India, completes the
picture of British food culture. Thus it was the British who brought curry
to Europe. Several dishes prepared with curry, eg the soup mulligatawny,
must thus be considered British. The close relationship with the United States
and the British great desire to travel, especially to southern Europe, has
further contributed to changing eating habits in an international direction in
recent times. British food writers like Jane Grigson (1928-90) and
especially Elizabeth Davidhas played an important role in spreading the
knowledge of especially Italian and French food culture, and through the 1990's,
younger British chefs have helped to make London a center of gastronomic
The classic cuisine includes quite a few specialties from all parts of the
British Isles, preferably based on vegetables such as cabbage, root vegetables,
leeks and potatoes in combinations with pork, beef and mutton. Among
the most well-known are roast beef (beef roast) with yorkshire
pudding from the north of England, irish stew (gets long - cooked in
a pot with potatoes and onions) from Ireland and cock-a-leekie (rooster
cooked with leeks and prunes) and haggis (chopped offal most often of
sheep cooked in sheep's stomach) from Scotland. From Wales in particular come
quite a few dishes with leeks.
The British have a tradition of meat baked into pies or pies; steak and
kidney pie, i.e. baked beef and kidneys, and shepherds pie, a
remnant of minced meat baked under a layer of mashed potatoes, are well-known
examples. As in Denmark, salting and smoking have been preferred ways of
preserving both meat and fish. Kippers are an integral part of the traditional
and hearty British breakfast table.
Many desserts of British origin can be traced back to the 1600's. They are
often based on cream and eggs and preferably supplemented with fruits. This
applies, for example, to fools, fruit purees turned into whipped
cream, syllabs (wine, sugar and spices whipped up with cream) and trifles (trifles). Also,
the traditional Christmas cake Christmas pudding is probably from the
1600's. Among the British's most important contributions to international
gastronomy are cheeses. This is especially true of cheddar, which is considered
one of the most widespread types of solid cheeses in the world, but also the
blue cheese stilton enjoys a great reputation.