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Week 20

Heritage Culture

I. How did the monarchy persist as a popular institution in the twentieth century?
II. Why did twentieth-century Britain see the emergence of a heritage culture?
III. Has the modern British interest in heritage been a healthy or harmful feature of national life?

• On the monarchy: Tom Nairn, The Enchanted Glass: Britain and its Monarchy (1998); David Cannadine, ‘The Context, Performance and Meaning of Ritual: The British Monarchy and the “Invention of Tradition”, c. 1820-1977’, in E. Hobsbawm & T. Ranger (eds.), The Invention of Tradition; E. Shils & M. Young, ‘The Meaning of the Coronation’, Sociological Review (1953); Philip Ziegler, Crown and People (1978); J. Ellis, ‘Reconciling the Celt: British National Identity, Empire, and the 1911 Investiture of the Prince of Wales’, Journal of British Studies, 37 (1998); Ben Pimlott, The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II (1996); Tony Walter (ed.), Mourning for Diana (1999); John Davies, Diana: A Cultural History (2001); A. Olechnowicz, The Monarchy and the British Nation, 1780 to the Present (2007); A. Olechnowicz, ‘Britain’s Quasi-Magical Monarchy in the Mid-Twentieth Century’, in Griffiths, Nott and Whyte (eds.), Classes, Cultures and Politics..
• For a broad perspective: David Lowenthal, The Heritage Crusade and the Spoils of History (1997).
• For the history of heritage in Britain: Michael Hunter (ed.), Preserving the Past: The Rise of Heritage in Modern Britain (1996); for an account of the changing fortunes of the country house over two centuries: P. Mandler, The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home (1997).
• On the distortion of the past in heritage culture: D. Lowenthal, The Past is a Foreign Country (1985).
• For the view that the heritage industry has exploited a sense of national decline (and that its impact has been conservative): Patrick Wright, On Living in and Old Country: the National Past in Contemporary Britain (1985); Robert Hewison, The Heritage Industry: Britain in a Climate of Decline (1987). And from a rather different political perspective: M. Wiener, English Culture and the Decline of the Industrial Spirit (1981).
• A US academic perspective on the appeal of heritage culture: Antoinette Burton, ‘When was Britain? Nostalgia for the Nation at the End of the “American Century”’, Journal of Modern History, 75 (2003), 359-79.
• More on the heritage vogue in film: G. Eley, ‘How is the National Past Imagined? National Sentimentality, True Feeling, and the Heritage Film, 1980-1995’ in P. Levine and S. Grayzel (eds.), Gender, Labour, War and Empire (2009).
• A more benign and democratic view of heritage’s appeal: Raphael Samuel, Theatres of Memory (1994); and for a defence of British history in the national curriculum: Raphael Samuel, Island Stories (1998), Part III: ‘History, the Nation and Schools’.
• On heritage and the public: N. Merriman, Beyond the Glass Case: the Past, Heritage and the Public in Britain (1994).
• On the role of one museum: L. Noakes, ‘Making Histories: Experiencing the Blitz in London’s Museum in the 1990s’, in M. Evans & K. Lunn (eds.), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (1997)
• On post-war mythologisation of the Second World War: M. Smith, Britian and 1940: History, Myth and Popular Memory; Angus Calder, The Myth of the Blitz; and on the depiction within popular culture: S. Harper, ‘Popular Film, Popular Memory: The Case of the Second World War’, in M. Evans & K. Lunn (eds.), War and Memory in the Twentieth Century (1997); G. Hurd (ed.), National Fictions: World War Two in British Film and Television (1984).
• On the role of History in shaping and spreading ideas about national character at the start of the period: Reba Soffer, 'The Modern University and National Values, 1850-1930', Historical Research, 60 (1987); Reba Soffer, ' Nation, Duty, Character and Confidence: History at Oxford, 1850-1914', Historical Journal, 30 (1987); David Cannadine, G.M. Trevelyan: A Life in History.