Picturing the Past English History in Text and Image, 1830-1870 (Oxford Historical Monographs)

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9780198208440: Picturing the Past English History in Text and Image, 1830-1870 (Oxford Historical Monographs)
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This monograph is a wide-ranging and sophisticated analysis of representations in text and image of the English past between 1830 and 1870. It consists of a series of inter-related case-studies of illustrated history books, ranging from editions of David Humes History of England to W. H. Ainsworths The Tower of London (1840). It contributes to present debates on nationalism, highlighting the complex and variable nature of cultural constructions of identity. Simultaneously, if offers an overall interpretation of historiographical change in early and mid-Victorian Britain, focusing in particular on the transition from picturesque reconstructions of the English past to the scientific approaches of the professional historian. Genuinely interdisciplinary, Picturing the Past presents new perspectives on traditional studies of Victorian historiography, literature, and illustration. It explores relationships between text and image, author, illustrator, and publisher, in the production of illustrated historical texts, often drawing on neglected material in publishers archives. The tendency to analyse text and image, fiction and non-fiction, popular and elite publications in isolation from each other is challenged in the interests of a more complex and nuanced portrait of the middle-class Victorian historical consciousness.

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This volume makes a significant addition to the national identity scholarship ... The breadth of evidence makes the book mandatory reading for any scholar interested in the intellectual process of how the writing of history has shaped the national identity issue. Anyone interested in the broader dimensions of history and national identity in the process of political evolution in other European countries should read this book as well ... Mitchell's careful account of how the English national narrative took a specific form between 1830 and 1870 has implications beyond that particular period and country. The arguments she presents deserve consideration well beyond the confines of English history. (Journal of Modern History)

Picturing the Past should be commended for combining intellectual history and history of the book to illuminate a vibrant age in British cultural politics. (SHARP News)

Beautifully evokes the many pleasures and mysteries of reading about the past, for the Victorians and ourselves. (SHARP News)

This book is a fine example of deconstructionist scholarship - and proof that it need not be obscured behind a veil of jargon. Recommended. (CHOICE)

A rich mine of information ... Mitchell traces the various forms of text and image relationships in her chosen period, in a variety of publications, from textbooks to historical novels. It is this holistic approach that gives the book its special interest ... The chapters that deal with Women's History and later historical novels are full of useful insights. (English Historical Review)

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