We Are Nostalgia: Alan Garner’s The Stone Book Quartet

On the occasion of the publication of Alan Garner’s memoir, Where Shall We Run To?, Garner was interviewed for BBC Radio 4’s arts programme, Front Row. Something that really struck me was the closing exchange of the interview. The interviewer asked Garner about his views of nostalgia, and the question was framed with particular reference to Brexit and an apparent upsurge in nostalgic feelings for a Britain of the past. Garner’s answer was striking: “I find nostalgia one of the most poisonous words in the language. It is a complete romantic fabrication. When I was living in that time [i.e. during the Second World War] I heard adults talking about the good old days, and now they are talking about the good old days, but the point of getting out of the bed in the morning is to bring about the future. And that’s why I loathe nostalgia.”[1]

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