Oxford Christ Church College

The Shrewsbury Chronicles : day 1

badge england Je vous offre ici une petite série de quelques articles dans lesquels je vais raconter tout ce qui a concerné le voyage en Angleterre auquel ma collègue m’a convié il y a de cela quelques mois.

Commençons par le commencement, voici comment tout cela s’est passé :

L : Matt, tu fais quoi vers la mi-mai ?
M : euh… rien je pense !
L : ça te dirait d’accompagner le voyage en Angleterre ?
M : hell yeah baby, count me in !!!

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Gavin and Stacey season 1

Gavin and Stacey saison 1

Gavin and Stacey est une série britannique écrite par et jouée avec avec Ruth Jones (Little Britain, Nighty Night, Fat Friends) et James Corden (The History Boys, Fat Friends), diffusée sur BBC3 puis BBC2 et qui a gagné de nombreuses récompenses.


Stacey (Joanna Page) vient du Barry, à Cardiff, et Gavin (Mathew Horne) est de l’Essex.

Mais la différence de milieu et de culture n’empêche pas leur romance, qui s’épanouit lorsqu’ils se rencontrent enfin pour la première fois après avoir longtemps flirté au cours de coup de fils de bureau.

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Big Train

Big Train

Big Train est une série de sketchs complètement surréalistes, joués par certains des meilleurs acteurs comiques dont Simon Pegg (Shaun of the Dead, Spaced, Hot Fuzz), Julia Davis (Nighty Night, Human Remains) et Catherine Tate (The Catherine Tate Show; Wild West).

Quelques thèmes sont récurrents comme la vie professionnelle au bureau, la chirurgie et une fixation sur les jockeys.

La série déforme toutes les situations courantes en d’improbables scénarios tous les plus drôles les uns que les autres comme par exemple les avantages et les inconvénients d’avoir des mains immenses alors qu’aujourd’hui tout est à la micro-technologie…

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Trois personnes parlant anglais tout en parlant à vélo sur un chemin de terre.

“Do you speak English ?”

Allez, voici un petit classique, “Do you speak English?”, histoire de se détendre un peu avant d’attaquer demain avec nos délicieux apprenants :

La vidéo est bien évidemment issue de la comédie Big Train, diffusée sur la BBC.

Love it :)

English Expansionism photo

English Expansionism

  1. The Reformation in the British Isles
  2. English Expansionism
  3. The Glorious Revolution of 1688
  4. The American colonies : Religion and Politics
  5. USA: Birth of a Nation


The Anglo-American World is but colonial. Its present extension is the result of England’s self-affirmation and ambition to become a major world power. Therefore, the words “empire” and “imperialism” describe England’s struggle for national and international sovereignty.

The first consequence of English expansionism was the westward impulse of the Anglo-Saxon element, first into the Celtic periphery of the British Isles, then across the Atlantic and finally into Africa and Australasia.

The second more recent consequence is the emergence in the 20th century of multi-cultural societies both in Britain and in America but also across the British Commonwealth, which is constituted of the former British colonies.

Early English expansionism in the British Isles

The origin of British colonial adventures lies in the early steps taken by English Kings towards the political, economic, and religious integration of the British Isles.

The Anglo-Norman enterprise

In 1066, William, Duke of Normandy, became the master of England. His successors, the Anglo-Norman Kings, tried to increase their authority and international prestige (especially in front of France) by controlling the British Isles (first Ireland and then Wales).

In 1171, the English King Henry II landed in Ireland and was accepted by the Irish Kings as their overlord (=master). During the 13th century, many Anglo-Norman barons settled in Ireland where they were given land by the King. They introduced the French system of feudalism and forced the native Irish to become serfs.

In 1366, the English Parliament prohibited mixed marriages between Irish and Anglo-Norman and Irish laws and customs were abolished in English-controlled areas. The colonization of Ireland had started.

In 1277, Edward I of England invaded Wales after the last Prince of Wales refused to acknowledge his authority. The country soon became part of the English Royal Estate and was re-organized into 5 countries, after the English model. In 1301, the English King became the Prince of Wales.

The Anglo-Normans never managed to conquer Scotland. After a series of unsuccessful invasions, the English were finally forced out in 1314. Scottish independence was secured for 4 centuries.

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Definitions : the State, the Nation, Home Rule and Devolution photo

Scotland: the State, the Nation, Home Rule, and Devolution

  1. Scotland: the State, the Nation, Home Rule, and Devolution
  2. The Act of Union of 1707
  3. Scottish Home Rule
  4. The rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP)
  5. The Scottish Parliament
  6. Scotland: the Road to Independence

The State and the Nation

For Benedict Anderson, Nations are “imagined communities”: it means that there is a will of the people to do things together and this group of people is so large that people cannot know every member: hence, they imagine the other members like them, sharing the same value.

The State is an independent polity, a political unit with a fully independent legislature. Scotland is not a State but she is a Nation.

Until 1999, Scotland was described as a “stateless nation”. Now it has a legislature: she is referred to as a “partially-stated nation”.

Home Rule – Devolution

“Home Rule” is a concept developed by the Liberal Party at the end of the 19th century. The whole concept was “Home Rule All Around” (i.e. Home Rule in the UK).

Then, it meant self-government (independence, autonomy), and later: devolution proposals of the Labour Party.

For Scotland, Home Rule means Scotland governed by Scots in Scotland: it underlines Scotland’s sovereignty. On the other hand, devolution underlines the sovereignty of the British State.

Vernon Bogdanor defines devolution as “the transfer of powers from a superior to an inferior political authority. Devolution may be defined as consisting of three elements:

  • the transfer to a subordinate elected body
  • on a geographical basis
  • of functions at present exercised by ministers and Parliament

The Scotland Act of 1998 set up the Scottish Parliament, its rules etc. Section 28: “This section does not affect the power of the British Parliament to make laws for Scotland”.

In theory, the British Parliament can still make laws for Scotland in Education for instance. The Scottish Parliament is subordinated to the British Parliament.

  • Devolved areas: education, health, environment…
  • Reserved areas: defence, foreign affairs, constitution…

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Scottish Home Rule photo

Scottish Home Rule

  1. Scotland: the State, the Nation, Home Rule, and Devolution
  2. The Act of Union of 1707
  3. Scottish Home Rule
  4. The rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP)
  5. The Scottish Parliament
  6. Scotland: the Road to Independence


After the Union of 1707, Scotland started to export goods massively: especially linen, cattle, and tobacco (Glasgow was nicknamed the “tobacco metropolis”).

Gradually the Union came to represent career opportunities for the upper-class and middle-class Scots: some joined the Army in India, some became merchants in London and some others migrated to North America as settlers.

1760s: 1st Industrial Revolution in Scotland. Until then, Scotland was a rural country. It became rapidly urbanized.

1760-1830: Scottish economy based on the textile industry (cotton, linen and wool).

After 1830, new industries appeared: the steel industry and the shipbuilding industry.

During Victorian Scotland (1837-1901), all industries were owned by the Scots. They were prosperous and exported their goods all over the world. There was no feeling of discontent for they were proud to be contributing to the Empire, adding up their prosperity.

In the 1880s, Scottish home rule (more autonomy) emerged as an issue in Scottish politics. It was the result of 3 factors:

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The Act of Union of 1707 photo

The Act of Union of 1707

  1. Scotland: the State, the Nation, Home Rule, and Devolution
  2. The Act of Union of 1707
  3. Scottish Home Rule
  4. The rise of the Scottish National Party (SNP)
  5. The Scottish Parliament
  6. Scotland: the Road to Independence


Scotland was never conquered by England. There were attempts but they failed. At the end of the 13th century, the wars of independence began.

On May 1st 1707, the Act of Union was ratified between England and Scotland: the Scottish Parliament and the English Parliament were suspended. They created the British Parliament and formed Great Britain by the Union of Scotland and England.

At the time, Scotland was already a protestant country (the Reformation came in the 16th century, before then she was catholic). As England was also protestant, the two nations grew closer.

The Queen chose several men to represent Scotland and England in a commission to discuss the terms of the Treaty of Union. Several Acts and events precipitated the Union.

1698 – 1699: expeditions to Darien

It was a total failure for the Company of Scotland :

  • Scotland lost trading opportunities with France (due to the Reformation),
  • the Navigation Acts (1660-1663) prevented Scotland from trading with English colonies.

In England, the East-Indian Company had monopole and money. Hence, Scotland wanted the same: that is how the Company of Scotland was set up in 1695. Its full name was “Company of Scotland Trading to Africa and the Indies”.

The East Indian was not very happy and put pressure on English financiers who wanted to provide money to the capital of the Company of Scotland. The financiers finally withdrew and the Scots had to provide money themselves: a multitude of people giving little money.

The Company of Scotland established a trading post in America: Darien, in the Isthmus of Panama. 1698 saw the 1st expedition to Darien. It was a terrible failure for many people died during the journey and by fighting against the Spaniards already settled there.

The 2nd expedition was also a failure and the people who had invested in the enterprise were ruined, just like the company. After that experience, the Scots thought the best thing would be a union with England (no more Navigation Acts and access to colonies trading).

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English Literature


Lord Jim by Joseph Conrad

Macbeth by William Shakespeare

A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare

Richard III by William Shakespeare

World War One Poetry

Regeneration by Pat Barker