Daniel Martin, John Fowles’ hero in the late great British novelist’s epononymous masterpiece, defines Englishness:
[B]eing happier at being unhappy than doing something constructive about it. We boast of our genius for compromise, which is really a refusal to choose; and that in turn contains a large part of cowardice, apathy, selfish laziness – but it is also, I grow increasingly certain of this as I grow holder, a function of our peculiar imagination, of our racial and individual gift for metaphor; for allowing hypotheses about ourselves, and our pasts and future, almost as much reality as the true events and destinies. Other races look at themselves in the mirror, and either live with the reflection or do something practical to improve it. We paint an idea, or a dream, self on the glass and then wallow in the discrepancy.