Paperback review: Nick Drake: Dreaming England, By Nathan Wiseman-Trowse


The singer-songwriter Nick Drake died of an overdose in 1974, at the age of 26. Since his death his reputation has steadily grown, and his music has come to be regarded, with great affection, as the embodiment of a particular kind of Englishness.

Nathan Wiseman-Trowse analyses what that Englishness consists of: the sense of wistfulness and melancholy, the strain of romanticism, and the pastoral landscapes evoked by his melodies and lyrics, as well as the solitary, contemplative images of Drake used for album covers and publicity shots. The book is written in academic-speak, but it’s an astute analysis, and an evocative reminder of the handful (fewer than 40) of beautiful, delicate songs Drake left us.