As an American reader I found Charlotte Higgins’ commentary on hygge fascinating (Long read, 22 November) because to me there is much about the UK that is quite naturally and intrinsically hygge without the importation of a uniquely Danish term and concept. British villages and many towns have an intimacy, cosiness and sense of comfort emerging from their walkability, architecture, natural beauty and density that is distinctive.
In contrast, American patterns of settlement can be characterised by a sense of openness, expansiveness and the illusion of infinity, where each home is generally larger than its UK counterpart and set further apart from neighbours, and in which backyards replace gardens and the freedom provided by space replaces the virtues of the small.
Bill Bryson offers perhaps the most trenchant commentaries on the wonders and beauty (as well as the frustrations) of the cosiness inherent in British landscape, culture, and society.
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