Theatres Of Memory

Theatres Of Memory

by Raphael Samuel
     
 

In this widely acclaimed book, Raphael Samuel takes issue with the claim that our obsession with heritage is a symptom of national decay. He argues rather that we live in an expanding historical culture, one which is newly alert to the evidence of the visual and which is altogether more pluralist than earlier versions of the national past.See more details below

Overview

In this widely acclaimed book, Raphael Samuel takes issue with the claim that our obsession with heritage is a symptom of national decay. He argues rather that we live in an expanding historical culture, one which is newly alert to the evidence of the visual and which is altogether more pluralist than earlier versions of the national past.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Whose history is it, then? That’s the question driving Raphael Samuel’s provocative investigation of the historically steeped nature of British culture today ... A joy to read.”—Roy Porter, New Statesman and Society

“A brilliant and compelling historical vision.”—Jonathan Clark, The Times

“An alluring, hugely energetic writer ... Samuel is invaluable.”—Fiona MacCarthy, Observer

“Offers a generous and hopeful understanding of the past and how it affects our society.”—Candia McWilliam, Guardian

“Challenging, perceptive and gloriously eclectic.”—David Robinson, The Scotsman

“Magnificent.”—David Edgar, Independent on Sunday

“A showcase for Samuel’s quite astonishing historical and cultural range.”—Stefan Collini, Times Literary Supplement

David A. Bell
...Samuel [explores] with evident delight, the vagaries and the vicissitudes of popular collective memory in Great Britain....[it has] a taste for whimsy and [an] appetite for exposing invented traditions....His work has nothing systematic about it. It reflects, rather, one of his own favorite phrases: "madcap enthusiasm." — The New Republic
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The mania for a ``lost England''--manifest in TV costume dramas, railway preservation, cottage-style houses and the revival of historic ports--is not necessarily a reactionary, nostalgic phenomenon, argues British social historian Samuel. He views the ``heritage'' movement as a counterweight to excessive modernization--perhaps a consolation for Britain's loss of world leadership, but in any event a bid to preserve natural and cultural environments under threat. Samuel perceives a ``retrochic'' style, which exalts the recent past and unnoticed beauties of everyday life, in Merchant-Ivory films, period clothes, documentary photographs and ``olde worlde'' pubs. This sophisticated study also deciphers Edwardian shopping streets and Victorian fairs, analyzes class stereotypes in the movie "The Elephant Man" and unravels the ``contrived authenticities'' of film and stage versions of Dickens' novels.
Booknews
An unaltered reprint of the original (1980) Wiley edition. An argument to counter the heritage baiters--those who believe hospitable to previously stigmatized minorities. the current obsession with the past in criticism, literature, and the arts signals not a return to tradition but the exhaustion of history's grand narratives and a symptom of national decay. In this first part of a trilogy, Samuel (history, Ruskin College, Oxford U.) relates resurrectionism to the environmental movements of our time. He argues that our expanding historical culture is newly alert to evidence of the visual, and is both more democratic than earlier versions of the national past and more Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781859840771
Publisher:
Verso Books
Publication date:
04/16/1996
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
1.11(w) x 6.00(h) x 9.00(d)

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