Image of Britain 2, originally published in 1961, was the second of two special numbers of The Texas Quarterly devoted to Britain. This volume comprises some three dozen selections—essays, fiction, poetry, and illustrations, most of them specially commissioned. The editorial aim has been to achieve scope and variety.
The articles, essays in criticism on British themes, for the most part survey literature and the fine arts: poetry, theater, intellectual review, then-recent translations into English, the flood of military memoirs, British humor, architecture, painting and sculpture, and music. Other essays treat individual authors, among them Shakespeare, Trollope, Galsworthy, Forster, Wells, Yeats, Pound, Shaw, Muir, Green, Snow, Waugh, Amis, and Pinter.
All except a handful of the essayists are British. There is much to be said for inviting the forthright and brilliantly self-critical to comment extensively on their own literature and art. Stephen Spender and John Lehmann, two of Britain’s most distinguished editors, deal with British literary matters, both international and domestic; the novelist David Garnett discusses George Moore, Galsworthy, Forster, and H. G. Wells—the men and their works; and the poet Kathleen Raine appraises the verse of Edwin Muir.
Like the essayists, the contributors of fiction and poetry include the emerging and already noteworthy—Ted Hughes, Peter Redgrove, and Andrew Sinclair, for example—as well as the firmly established and celebrated, such as Angus Wilson, Stephen Spender, and Joyce Cary. Cary’s short story “The Ball” appeared here in print for the first time.
The photographer Hans Beacham, who visited England at the Quarterly’s invitation, contributed a gallery of portraits of important British painters and sculptors. The photographs complement David Sylvester’s article on contemporary British art. In addition, Edward Bawden’s drawings of the British scene run like a charming frieze throughout this number.