Theatres of Memory: Past and Present in Contemporary Culture

Raphael Samuel, Author Verso $65 (1p) ISBN 978-0-86091-209-5
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's novels. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1988
Release date: 10/01/1988
Paperback - 479 pages - 978-1-84467-869-3
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-1-85984-077-1
Open Ebook - 378 pages - 978-1-84467-935-5
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