A Question for the Ages


The English: Are They Human?

Came across this title and of course I had to get a look at this book.  What a title! From what I can gather this was written by a Dutchman trying to explain the English. This book explains so much! I am sure that my UK friends will be glad to know that this book exists so that those of us from the outside can really understand the particular quirks of the English.

My particular copy came from a university collection and was falling apart. I hope that someone does take some time to give that copy a bit of care. Future generations will need this book to explain those complex English folk.











  1. “Future generations will need this book to explain those complex English folk.”

    Well, we do still also have “Watching the English” by Kate Fox. 🙂

  2. I personally enjoyed Brit-think, Ameri-Think by Jane Walmsley which I read before my trip to England. It was intended as comedy, but certainly clued me in on a few things!

  3. Yes, quite funny. There was a better version of the same thing shortly after WW2: ‘How to be an Alien’ by George Mikes (a Hungarian comic who lived in the UK). ‘Alien’ was a euphemism for ‘foreigner’ before being more usually applied to visitors from outer space.

  4. Jonathan Cape is still one of the premier UK publishers, so it would have been put out with the anticipation it would sell, and sell very well. From Hemingway to Martin Amos, many famous authors’ first hardbound books in the UK would be published by Jonathan Cape. The British have the good sense to laugh at themselves, particularly their hypocrisies on things like universal suffrage and rigid class structure in a democracy, referenced in the small insert. They are also unlikely to take them to heart, so the book probably was a success in its time. I would love to have the chance to read a copy, but it has now become hard to find.

    It is a shame the book is falling apart, but perhaps it means it was well used in a particular course work at one time. I hope it has helped, not hindered, understanding across the Atlantic.

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