Deep England as an icon arose during the Second World War as a unifying concept of everything English. This icon has, however, long historical roots, and its significance is not only patriotic, but it is also a reaction to modernity. The icon is materialized in a fictitious southern, rural and pastoral England with close-knit communities centred on the village green. A number of samples will be analysed to identify the cultural meaning of the icon in the light of the theories of Svetlana Boym (nostalgia), Marc Augé (places), Angus Calder (cultural history) and Paul Kingsnorth (sociology). Based on analyses of these samples the article finally suggests a cultural, semiotic definition of icons.
The samples are:
• Rupert Brooke: "The Old Vicarage, Grantchester", 1912
• Humphrey Jennings: The Farm, 1938, English Harvest, 1939 and Spring Offensive, 1940
• Terence Cuneo: "BRITAIN in WINTER", 1948
• J.R.R. Tolkien: "The Scouring of the Shire" from The Lord of the Rings, 1939-1949
• Agatha Christie: The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side, 1962
• Norman Scarfe: Shell Guide Essex, 1968/1975
• Paul Kingsnorth: Real England. The Battle against the Bland, 2008
• Midsomer Murder: Small Mercies. 2009.