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Simon Schama

Posted by Mummy Dearest on May-30-2002

A number of years ago, I bought the book An Embarrassment of Riches , by Simon Schama. As one of the reviewers at Amazon writes :

Schama seeks out the collective self image, the self identity of the Dutch in the 16th and 17th centuries.

I really enjoyed the book, and once – a long time ago – it came up in a conversation I had with Catherine. She asked me if I had ever seen the BBC series that Schama had made about The history of Britain. I hadn’t.

Tuesday night I was watching a set of cooking shows on BBC2. I confess, I love these cooking shows : there is one in which three cooks each prepare two dishes and this is all done within a half an hour. I love it. It takes me at least that long just to throw together a simple tossed salad. In any case, during the break between shows, they announced that Schama’s History of Britain would be on at 10, and I decided to watch it.

What a fine show it was. It’s title was something like ‘ Nature is Patriotic’ and given the political situation that I see around me, I couldn’t help but follow his thesis with a question in the back of my mind : I had to wonder what the true difference between the patriotism he discusses and todays label of ‘racism’ ( as used when discussing Europe) is. Don’t have any answers, it just came to mind.

And the program spent a lot of time discussing the life of Mary Wollstonecraft , whom I have always found intriguing.

All in all, a fine show.

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