The English At Home. Photographs by Bill Brandt. Introduced by Raymond Mortimer. B.T. Batsford, London, 1936. 8 pp. text + plates. Small quarto. First edition. Hardbound. Photo-illustrated boards and endpapers. 63 gravure reproductions.
A celebration of "the English" or an expose of the country's famously rigid class structure? This is the question David Levi-Strauss poses in his description of The English At Home in The Book of 101 Books. As Parr and Badger explain, having been raised on the continent, Brandt was something of an outsider in England. Despite his privileged background, though, he "managed to focus on the lower classes without the sense of condescension that frequently accompanied the Englishman investigating the lower order like an anthropologist examining a foreign tribe.... He photographed all classes with an unusual degree of sympathy, using the pages of his books to bring out stark contrasts...[that] were always pertinent and ha never quite been highlighted in this way before, or since. The images in The English At Home must have shocked readers who expected a cosy, conventional look at the old country."
Near Fine-; small chip to backstrip (1/4"); moderate wear and abrasion to edges; rubbing and a some light surface scratching; slight warp to boards (quite typical); lacking (very scarce) glassine jacket.