‘The English country house continues to live large in the collective imagination, and Hiller’s work offers an apt way for a reader to consider the boundaries between mythology, nostalgia, and history.’ Sarah Dempster, Australian Book Review
This anthology brings together some of the finest writing in English on the subject of the English country house. As the collection demonstrates, people shape their houses and their houses shape them. The various glimpses that the extracts provide of the country house – its architecture, its garden, the well-being of its servants and tenants, the hospitality (or lack of it) that its guests experience, the extent of the ‘paternalism’ in the running of the estate – all in some way reflect the character of the owners. The huge ostentatious villa of Pope’s Timon reflects the vulgar pretension of its owner, just as the noble house and demesne of Beaumanoir is a home befitting the cultured and hospitable Lord Henry Sydney of Disraeli’s Coningsby. Each extract has a short introduction that provides its context, indicates salient details, and suggests something of the larger work’s enduring value.
Geoffrey G. Hiller was educated in Hobart, Tasmania, before completing his PhD at Cambridge University. He is an Adjunct of Monash University. Peter Groves is a senior lecturer at the same university.