Image of Britain 1, originally published in 1961, was the first of two special issues of The Texas Quarterly devoted to Britain. This volume contains three dozen selections, including essays, fiction, poetry, and illustrations, most of them specially commissioned. The editorial aim has been to achieve scope and variety. Surveyed in the articles are a dozen or more facets of British culture, among them politics, education, Anglo-American relations, religion, law, food, changes in class structure, pediatrics, the intellectual climate, scientific progress, and international relations.
Those who labor under the delusion that the British lack humor are advised to read Siriol Hugh-Jones's remarks on the subject, Henry Green's "Firefighting," William Sansom's "Dear Sir," and Willis W. Pratt's article on the great cartoonists Emett and Searle—whose cartoons should then be inspected carefully.
Their cartoons are only a part of the book’s handsome illustrations. In addition, the photographer Hans Beacham visited England at the Quarterly's invitation to depict for American readers distinguished figures in British arts and letters. His gallery of forty-one portraits of writers and other notables has historical as well as artistic importance. Beacham has also contributed twenty-one hauntingly beautiful photographs of the studio of the late great sculptor Sir Jacob Epstein.
Thirty-three of the contributors to this collection are British. There is much to be said for inviting members of this forthright, brilliantly self-critical race to comment extensively on themselves. Among the authors are the young and already noteworthy—Dom Moraes, Ted Hughes, and Alan Sillitoe, for example—as well as the firmly established and celebrated, such as John Wain, William Sansom, and Henry Green.