2014-04-04

Intellectual anglophilia

While there are quite a few countries in the world that don't fail to keep disappointing me, a small number of countries impress me constantly. England is one of these few countries in the area of intellectual culture. I even feel that I have become a sworn anglophile in this area after I realized that this country has been answering my intellectual needs more than any other country, including even the United States, which I also admire.

I rely on BBC and The Economist rather than, for example, Voice of America and Time as the best broadcasting station and weekly news magazine in the world respectively. If I had no problem with my budget, I would subscribe to Financial Times instead of reading Wall Street Journal, which is my most favorite American newspaper, for free online. More books I have are by Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press than by all the American university presses combined. My two favorite monolingual English dictionaries - Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary and Oxford Dictionary of English - are also British rather than American though I am used to and definitely prefer American English to British English. These are only a few examples that have made me readmire and reappreciate England intellectually once I have become aware of them rather recently.

Then I have started wondering what has made this country excel so much intellectually (and in many other areas). I may be totally wrong, but my impression is that its intellectual excellence is part of the legacy of the British Empire. It has become a stock rather than a flow. I have just read one introductory book and watched one documentary film, both of which were made, of course, in England, on the history of the British Empire and its legacy, but I haven't found any unequivocal answer to this question of mine.