Wednesday, February 24, 2016

The English: Are They Human?

According to a reliable (English) source, the book with the title The English: Are They Human? by Gustaaf Johannes Renier, published 1931 by Williams & Norgate Ltd, is quite entertaining. It is described at as a resident alien's views on the English:
"In expressing my opinion of the English I shall be frank. If I see much that is admirable, I see much also that is imperfect and not infrequently my sense of this imperfection has been heightened by the conviction of so many English people that nothing but perfection dwells within their shores....

I shall be doing no more than thinking aloud, and those I address are those who move around me, the English among whom I live, whose interests are mine, and whose prejudices, to some extent, I have adopted. Honest I shall be, in so far as I shall try honestly to express my bias.

I am speaking about the English, not about the British. There is no question in this work of the Scots, proud, intelligent, religious and unfathomable. Nor the Welsh, minute, musical, clever and tempermental. I am not writing about the charming untruthful, bloodthirsty and unreliable Irish. I shall be exclusively concerned with the English, the unintellectual, restricted, stubborn, steady, pragmatic, silent and reliable English."
According to, G. J. Renier (1892–1962) was born in Flushing, Netherlands, the child of a Dutch father and a French-speaking Belgian mother. He was sent to school in Antwerp and Leuven, and studied History at the University of Ghent, beginning a doctorate under Henri Pirenne. At the outbreak of the First World War he fled to England, and remained there working as a journalist, biographer and translator, before completing a doctorate under Pieter Geyl. In 1936 he succeeded Geyl as Reader in Dutch History at University College London, retiring in 1957.