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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: November ::
Re: British "strangers"
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.2127  Monday, 20 November 2000.

[1]     From:   Clifford Stetner <
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        Date:   Saturday, 18 Nov 2000 09:53:24 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Monday, 20 Nov 2000 13:44:54 +0000
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Clifford Stetner <
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Date:           Saturday, 18 Nov 2000 09:53:24 -0500
Subject: 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"

I have a related query:

When (if ever) did the Danish natives of the north east of England lose
their separate racial identity?

Clifford

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Monday, 20 Nov 2000 13:44:54 +0000
Subject: 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.2108 Re: British "strangers"

The term "stranger" has been an important word in the British Isles for
at least 2000 years.  The larger of the islands - that today contains
England - was always a cherished position in Europe.  A culture
inhabiting this place - divided by the sea from Europe - would be free
from rampaging hoards and get on with building a thriving economy.

The Romans knew the importance and relative seclusion of London.  And so
did the English or Angle-ish (the Angles, Saxons and Jutes) who poured
over the English channel in the 5th century.  So at this time the Pagan
English would have been strangers to the Christian Romano-Celts.  For
many, many years the Celts have threatened to drive the English back to
Germany.  The Celtic Arthur tried and failed.

In the beginning of the 11th century tens of thousands of Danish and
Norwegian viking strangers crashed into England until the place was
nearly bled dry.  And, of course, in 1066 more Norman French strangers
came across the channel resulting in a cultural schism from which
England has yet to fully recover.  So, even today in England, the word
stranger has a deeper meaning of danger and potential usurpation.  Note
the English hostility to the European federation, whilst the Scots are
reasonably tolerant.  So Swedes, Norwegians, Danes, Saxons, Norman
French, the Scots - and from the air the Germans - have all successfully
invaded England and made English lives a misery.  There is an English
joke that if you have lived for 30 years in a village you'll still be
called a newcomer.  Stranger is a bad word in English.

SAM SMALL
 

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