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Cover for Theatres of Memory

Theatres of Memory

Raphael Samuel


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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (9/11/2012)


The idea that the past is a plaything of the present, or a metafiction, is only now beginning to disturb the tranquility of professional historians, but for some 20 years it has been a commonplace of epistemological criticism, and a mainspring of experimental work in literature and the arts. Thus, in magical realism or modern Gothic the fairy tale can appear as the latest thing; while in the visual arts, futurist installations offer themselves as parodies of Old Masters.

Praise For Theatres of Memory

“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

Verso, 9781859840771, 496pp.

Publication Date: April 16, 1996

About 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.