What are the main differences between "Englishness" and "Britishness" with reference to Joseph Conrad and E. M. Forster? 

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wordprof | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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I think you are asking whether, in the field of international literature, there is a difference between English and British.  Of course, Britain is an “empire” consisting of several countries, one of which is England.  While we may discuss English literature from a linguistic standpoint (the development of the English language, for example) or even from a historical standpoint (Shakespeare’s history plays, for instance), the authors such as Conrad and Forster treat their mise-en-scenes in the context of colonization by the British Empire—Africa in Conrad’s case, especially Lord Jim and Heart of Darkness, and India in Forster’s case.  The British socio/economic influence on the world spawned a whole school of “British” literature, in which the British social view, class system, and mindset are dominant not only in the setting of the plots but in the effect on the native characters. (Lawrence Durrell’s tetralogy, Alexandria Quartet, which takes place in Egypt, might be seen as British but not colonial—although ironically, Durrell was born in India). So this kind of literature could be called “British” rather than “English.”

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