John Betjeman and Cornwall
"The Celebrated Cornish Nationalist"
Distributed for University of Exeter Press
Quintessentially English, Sir John Betjeman was an outsider in England and doubly so in his adopted home of Cornwall, where, as he was the first to admit, he was a foreigner. Nonetheless, as this book describes, the former Poet Laureate strove to acquire a veneer of Cornishness, discovering his own Welsh ancestry and cultivating an alternative Celtic identity that he wove during sojourns in Ireland, the other Celtic countries, and even Australia. Here eminent Cornish studies scholar Philip Payton provides a lively new account of the life of one of Britain’s most beloved poets, offering new insights into his work and his defining lifelong relationship with Cornwall.
Preamble: 'The Sky Widens to a Sense of Cornwall'
1. 'That Bold Coast-line Where he was Not Born': John Betjeman as 'foreigner'
2. 'Into Betjemanland': Imagining North Cornwall
3. 'The Oldest Part of Cornwall': Hawker, Baring-Gould and 'Betjeman Country'
4. 'Caverns of Light revealed the Holy Grail': Betjeman and The Secret Glory
5. 'A Longing for Ireland': Séan O'Betjemán and the 'Anglo-Celtic Muse'
6. 'I'm Free! I'm Free!": Cornwall as Liberation
7. 'Jan Trebetjeman, The Cornish Clot': John Betjeman Goes Native
Epilogue: 'When People talk to me about "The British" . . . I Give Up'