An English Christmas

As well as being known for his supremely well-groomed hair — as shown in the 1966 National Portrait Gallery portrait by Walter Bird (the famous nude portraitist) above — John Julius Norwich, 2nd Viscount Norwich, is also known for his books on history and for his hugely popular Christmas Crackers series — anthologies of anecdotes, witticisms, miscellany and literary esoterica. The Christmas Crackers are now regarded as an essential part of Christmas.

Strictly Yuletide
The Right Honourable The Viscount Norwich makes a more defined foray into the festive period with An English Christmas, an anthology published by Hodder and Stoughton with a strictly Yuletide theme.

An English Christmas is separated into sections related to Advent, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and finally the period between Boxing Day and Epiphany. The book is encrusted with Christmas-themed nuggets of fact, fiction, poetry and prose. Contributions by George Orwell, G.K. Chesterton, Jane Austen, Tolkien and Betjeman reveal how much spiritual and cultural capital has been invested into this time of year. We can't let it be bought by corporations.
Joy unconfined not guaranteed
If you are not yet feeling the festive spirit, joy unconfined certainly isn't guaranteed by reading this book — let's not kid ourselves — but you might feel more inclined to join in a little bit and not be such a stick-in-the mud.


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