Theatres Of Memory

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.
Read More Show Less
... See more details below
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (7) from $31.75   
  • New (3) from $47.09   
  • Used (4) from $31.75   
Sending request ...

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.
Read More Show Less

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)
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
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859840771
  • Publisher: Verso Books
  • Publication date: 4/16/1996
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 1.11 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Raphael Samuel (1934–1996) was a tutor in History at Ruskin College, Oxford, and a founding editor of History Workshop Journal. His works include Theatres of Memory and Island Stories, also from Verso. For more information about his work, see The Raphael Samuel History Centre and Archive online.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Preface: Memory Work
Acknowledgements for Illustrations
Introduction: Unofficial Knowledge 3
Pt. I Retrochic
Retrofitting 51
Retrochic 83
The Return to Brick 119
Pt. II Resurrectionism
Resurrectionism 139
Living History 169
Pt. III Heritage
Semantics 205
Genealogies 227
Sociology 242
Pt. IV Flogging a Dead Horse
Heritage-baiting 259
Pedagogies 274
Politics 288
Pt. V Old Photographs
The Eye of History 315
The Discovery of Old Photographs 337
Dreamscapes 350
Scopophilia 364
Pt. VI Costume Drama
Modern Gothic: The Elephant Man 381
Doing the Lambeth Walk 390
Docklands Dickens 401
'Who Calls So Loud?' Dickens on Stage and Screen 413
Afterword: Hybrids 429
Index 448
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)