Claiming the Nation's Past: The Invention of an Anglo-Saxon Tradition

  title={Claiming the Nation's Past: The Invention of an Anglo-Saxon Tradition},
  author={Billie Melman},
  journal={Journal of Contemporary History},
  pages={575 - 595}
  • B. Melman
  • Published 1991
  • History
  • Journal of Contemporary History
The reconstitution of continuities, of a suitable history which links present to past, characterizes most societies in moments of transition. The past alone, observed Disraeli, energizes an atrophied race when all else fails. An invented past, wisely manipulated, not only 'explains the present', but 'moulds the future'.' Invented continuities, to paraphrase Hobsbawm's over-used expression, are most likely to develop in modern communities.2 Indeed, the quest for historic continuities is to be… Expand
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On Britannia, see Marina Warner, Monuments and Maidens, The Allegory of Female Form
  • 1987
On processes of inclusion and exclusion, see Philip Dodd
  • Englishness, Politics and Culture 1880-1920
  • 1987
For the problematics of the distinction between opposition and consensus nationalism, see Linda Coley, 'Whose Nation? Class and National Consciousness in Britain
  • Past and Present
  • 1986
National Fictions. See also J.H. Grainger, Patriotisms
  • 1986
Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge 1990)
  • Among the very few early works is Hans Kohn, ’The Genesis and Character of English Nationalism’, Journal of the History of Ideas, I (1940), 69-94. The diversity of work after the Falklands War is exemplified in Raphael Samuel (ed.), The Making and Unmaking of British National Identity, 3 vols (Londo
  • 1986