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Wednesday, July 05, 2006

British. Bronte. Brontish?

This Bronte mention in today's Guardian was rather quirky, I think. I'm not sure what to make of it.

With the Moroccan police arresting four British men in Rabat last week in the course of the investigation into the £53m Securitas robbery, the question arises as to what sort of a British community exists there these days.
The English Bookshop in the centre of Rabat seemed a good place to start inquiring, and the responses there were revealing about the British abroad.
"The words "British" and "community" don't go together, do they?" said a teacher called Netzha who was buying second-hand books in the shop, which has been a little landmark in the capital for the past two decades. "There is an Indian community and an African community, but the British - they don't integrate, do they? They don't open up, like French people. I know the British from their literature, from the Brontes. They are phlegmatic and secretive ... and mysterious." And she smiled.


Any comments from the British readers? I don't know what to say, except that there is also no British community here- at least where I am from, despite the fact that the area has a long British history. There are a series of multicultural festivals through the summer, including ones for the Irish, and Scottish cultures. So far I have yet to hear of a British one although I have seen the 'Anglo' clubhouse from the outside. I suppose this would count as 'secretive' and 'mysterious' enough!

4 comments:

mysticgypsy said...

"know the British from their literature, from the Brontes."

I wonder why/how she picked the Brontes and what the significance of this is.

Brontëana said...

Yes, I thought Pride and Prejudice was supposed to be the icon of Britishness... ;)iq

Liz said...

We *are* supposed to be phlegmatic and secretive, at least in our own country - a Brit abroad is very different of course. I've always seen the Brontes are rather more exotic, what with their Irish forebears, German name and French influences.

Brontëana said...

to liz:

I've never really seen the Brontes as being typical of anything, really. They're not typical of their period, and I don't think they're typical of their country either. They are what they are. ;)