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 1 July 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… 

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