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We British: The Poetry of a People

By Paula Byrne   December 2015

Untitled-2by Andrew Marr (Fourth Estate, £11.99)

Andrew Marr’s triumphant We British: The Poetry of a People is not just an anthology, but a history of Great Britain seen through the lens of poetry.

It begins in the year 657 with the Northumbrian poet Caedmon, and takes us up to the present day, each chapter wisely and wittily guiding the reader through successive poetic movements. Marr’s argument is that the British are peculiarly good at poetry (better than we are at painting, architecture and music). And it’s not just that we have Shakespeare and…

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