Culture of Great Britain
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Artistic and cultural life in Britain is rather rich. It passed several main stages in its development.
The Saxon King Alfred encouraged the arts and culture. The chief debt owed to him by English literature is for his translations of and commentaries on Latin works. Art, culture and literature flowered during the Elizabethan age, during the reign of Elizabeth I; it was the period of English domination of the oceans.
It was at this time that William Shakespeare lived.
The empire, which was very powerful under Queen Victoria, saw another cultural and artistic hey-day as a result of industrialisation and the expansion of international trade.
But German air raids caused much damage in the First World War and then during the Second World War. The madness of the wars briefly interrupted the development of culture.
Immigrants who have arrived from all parts of the Commonwealth since 1945 have not only created a mixture of nations, but have also brought their cultures and habits with them. Monuments and traces of past greatness are everywhere. There are buildings of all styles and periods. A great number of museums and galleries display precious and interesting finds from all parts of the world and from all stage in the development of nature, man and art. London is one of the leading world centres for music, drama, opera and dance. Festivals held in towns and cities throughout the country attract much interest. Many British playwrights, composers, sculptors, painters, writers, actors, singers and dancers are known all over the world.