I overheard a friend say:
"I was used to writing essays in the American style, where you have to take a position, be really passionate about it, and given arguments with references for and against, show why your position is the right one. I had to change to the British style, where you have to be quite detached, and balance out the for and against arguments, and explain the better position."
- I get that British and American senses of humour are different because of different historic cultural influences. Stephen Fry explains his theory that the British view of the world is pre-reformation (despite Henry VIII several centuries ago) and focuses on a passive view of the world that is unchangeable.That the American post-reformation and relies more on self-empowerment and individual responsibility.
- I know both cultures have different philosophical contexts, the American influence on Locke's ideas of natural rights to life, liberty and property as a higher cultural claim. The British have a leaning towards Greek platonic modernism as a higher cultural claim.
- (I'm writing as an Australian)
My question is: Is there evidence for a categorical difference between British and American literary argument style?
(My apologies for a dramatic oversimplification of the influence of Locke, and the fact that I have left out so many other significant influences. I get that he also had a significant influence on British law and Constitutional theory. My point was to paint a picture of the categories).