This work offers an account of the heroes and villains, legends and foibles of the four nations that inhabit the British Isles. Raphael Samuel is interested by the face that traditions can disappear no less abruptly than they were invented. How is it, he asks, that the Scots have lost interest in a British narrative of which they were once a central protagonist? Why is the celebration of "Britons" thriving today just as its object has become problematic? The book conveys the mutability of national conceits. Samuels calls as witness numerous authorities - Bede and Gerald of Barri, Macaulay and Stubbs, Shakespeare and Dickens, Lord Reith and Raymond Williams, Margaret Thatcher and Tony Benn - each of whom sought to renew the sense of national identity by means of an acute sense of the past. A sequel to "Theatres of Memory", the book is a study of the way nations use their past to lend meaning to the present and future.
In this book the author shows the connections between literature and historiography as exemplified by the neo-Victorian fiction of the British writer A.S. Byatt, specifically in her novels 'Possession', 'The Biographer's Tale' and 'The Children's Book', as well as the two novellas in 'Angels and Insects'. The theoretical framework is provided by the texts of two philosophers of history, Hayden White and Frank Ankersmit. The author starts with the theory of narrativism and its influence on literature, and then shows the development of the historiographical appproach towards new categories of mediating the past, namely memory and experience, which are visible both in historical writing and fiction. In this way, the author demonstrates how histography and literature follow the same patterns in the presentation of the past.
"The Cambridge Companion to Travel Writing" is a broad, specially commissioned introduction to travel writing in English between 1500 and the present. Five essays survey the period's travel writing; six more focus on areas of particular interest--Arabia, the Amazon, Ireland, Calcutta, the Congo and California, while the final three analyze some of the theoretical and cultural dimensions of this enigmatic, influential genre of writing. An extensive further reading list plus a detailed chronology are included.