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The Unton Portrait at the National Portrait Gallery, London, is among the most famous representations of memory and mortality in early modern England. It depicts Sir Henry Unton (c. 1558–1596), his life and death. This chapter argues that the Unton Memorial Picture deserves to be reconsidered not primarily as a narrative of Unton’s life and death, but as a meditation on memory and mortality. Analysis of the spatial organisation of the portrait shows how early modern English elite culture approached the arts of death in the wake of the Reformation. Equal weight was given to life, death and its attendant rituals, and to the afterlife, including the fate of body, soul, and memory. Close reading of the architecture and imagery of Unton’s monument as depicted in the portrait demonstrates that the tomb was at the forefront of the stylistic development of English sepulchral art. This allows the portrait to be redated to around 1606, a decade after the death of its subject, and understood as part of a programmatic approach to Unton’s memory authored by his widow Dorothy. The chapter contributes to development of a theory of memory and commemoration authentic to the English Renaissance.
This “guided tour” of the Lives of the Poets explores Johnson’s criteria for poetry, starting from his discussion of the metaphysical poets. What Johnson says about Gray’s Elegy is related to the commemorative impulse in the Lives. The ironic vision of the Life of Savage is argued to underlie that comedic understanding of the complex relation between writing and life that frequently surfaces elsewhere. Four major writers then get special attention, in which literary appreciation and quasi-personal relationship go hand in hand. Johnson’s intensely held ambivalence about Paradise Lost pays reluctant tribute to Milton’s own capaciousness of mind. Swift’s rigor toward himself and others is met by Johnson’s correspondingly acerbic, unforgiving account. Dryden’s roving, fluid, omni-curious intelligence, his hospitality to the occasional and contingent, is matched by the relaxed generosity and miscellaneousness of Johnson’s Life of Dryden, as contrasted with the careful scrutiny afforded to the life and work of the self-aware, self-critical, aspiring Pope.
This article presents the results of an interdisciplinary project that explores street name changes in Leipzig, a city in eastern Germany, over the past one-hundred years. Our analysis focuses on the ways in which semantic choices in the streetscape are recruited to canonize traces of the national past that are “supportive of the hegemonic socio-political order” (Azaryahu, 1997:480). We triangulate results from variationist sociolinguistics, Linguistic Landscape (LL) studies and geographical analysis to visualize waves of street (re)naming during a century of political turmoil. Drawing on historical archival data allows us to interpret spatial and temporal patterns of odonymic choices as the public embodiment of subsequent political state ideologies. The analysis provides quantitative and longitudinal support to Scollon and Scollon’s (2003) claim that the indexing of officially sanctioned identity and ideology as well as the appropriation of human space are performed by and in turn index state-hegemonic politics of memory.
Commemorations brought authors and their works to wide public attention, partly through reports in the newspaper and magazine press, and, when such occasions were marked by the erection of public statues, by a continuing visible presence. They were unavoidable reminders of a particular and selected past. There were, however, further remains and archival strata that invited investigation. In these archival survivals lay the explanation, rationale and often the justification for modern religious, political and other aspects of social organisation.
This article addresses the Taipei National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine (Guomin geming zhonglie ci) as a site of contention over national sovereignty and belonging. The shrine originated in Sun Yat-sen's aspiration to commemorate the anti-imperial martyrs of the 1911 Republic and in the Nationalist government's attempt to marshal political allegiance in the 1920s–1940s. Upon fleeing from the mainland to Taiwan after losing to the Communist forces in 1949, the Nationalist leadership renovated the Japanese-built National Protection Shrine in Taipei, transforming it into the National Revolutionary Martyrs’ Shrine to house the displaced spirits of the national dead. Throughout the Cold War era, the spring and autumn sacrifices performed by heads of state and visits to the shrine by foreign dignities served to affirm the sovereignty of the Republic of China vis-à-vis the People's Republic of China. Even though the end of martial law in 1987 opened a new era marked by the Nationalist Party's loss of political hegemony, the shrine continued to adhere to the Nationalist Party's ideology and version of history. Far from embodying a place of remembrance and mourning for war victims, the palace-style compound is a site of contested sovereignty exaggerated by China's extraordinary growth and Taiwan's transforming identity. The enshrined dead have found a new role as both an assertion of the island's autonomy and a reflection of its dynamism. The departed, albeit silent, hold power in the malleability of their memories, and each permutation of how the past is remembered hosts its own tension.
In Egyptian popular history and culture, Qasim Amin is often referred to the “father of feminism” or the “liberator of women.” However, this was not always the case. Upon his death in 1908, a different legacy emerged in many early eulogies, speeches, biographical sketches, and commemorations of Amin's life. In this early framing of Amin's legacy, his two most famous books were celebrated in ways that minimized the “woman question” while highlighting other aspects of his reforms and work. This allowed Amin's 1908 contemporaries to overlook the divisiveness of his earlier positions in favor of a new sort of fraternal solidarity—one that served the interests of certain political and intellectual male elites. For many of these writers—with a few notable exceptions—Amin was a quintessential reformer and thinker whose interest in the status of women was important insofar as it spoke to the ethos of his intellectual and political projects, not what it could do for women.
This introductory chapter situates the current study within the existing literature on the contested events of 1857 and highlights how a focus on the way in which the conflict became an almost obsessively commemorated event in colonial and postcolonial contexts can help us better understand a range of questions pertaining to identity, legitimacy, and power as successive generations (re)produced and (re)packaged the past for mass consumption in the constantly evolving present. In so doing, this chapter also outlines the methodological framework which will inform the study as a whole. Drawing on sociological accounts of ‘collective memory’, this chapter develops a socially grounded understanding of the relationship between memory and forgetting, and explains how practices of commemoration provide a moment in which this dynamic is played out.
Focusing on commemoration over the course of the first twenty years which followed the uprising, this chapter argues that official commemoration was a direct and often conscious attempt to mollify the British population which anxiously anticipated further insurrection. With elevated levels of intercommunal antipathy characterising the post-conflict colonial relationship, this chapter shows how commemoration was designed to produce a conciliatory memory of the uprising consciously shaped to soothe tension and reassure the colonial community about the stability of British India. Responsible for a greatly sanitised memory of 1857, commemoration attempted to mould the conflict into a heroic narrative in which British and Indian soldiers fought side by side to win a magnificent victory in the name of empire. As this chapter further explores, however, despite the enormous ideological energy expended by the administration over this period, fears of further insurrection tied to memories of 1857 were never far from the surface during these practices of commemoration and could still erupt in ruthless outbursts of colonial violence even decades later.
The Cawnpore Well, Lucknow Residency, and Delhi Ridge were sacred places within the British imagination of India. Sanctified by the colonial administration in commemoration of victory over the 'Sepoy Mutiny' of 1857, they were read as emblems of empire which embodied the central tenets of sacrifice, fortitude, and military prowess that underpinned Britain's imperial project. Since independence, however, these sites have been rededicated in honour of the 'First War of Independence' and are thus sacred to the memory of those who revolted against colonial rule, rather than those who saved it. The 1857 Indian Uprising and the Politics of Commemoration tells the story of these and other commemorative landscapes and uses them as prisms through which to view over 150 years of Indian history. Based on extensive archival research from India and Britain, Sebastian Raj Pender traces the ways in which commemoration responded to the demands of successive historical moments by shaping the events of 1857 from the perspective of the present. By telling the history of India through the transformation of mnemonic space, this study shows that remembering the past is always a political act.
This is a case study of Han Qi (1008–1075), one of the most influential statesmen in the Northern Song. Drawing on his funerary biographical work and other writing, it places at the forefront Han's family life and relationships, especially his role as a brother, uncle, and family head. The goal of the study is threefold: first, to establish Han as a “family man,” in contrast to his conventional image as an outstanding political figure; second, to illustrate how seemingly random occurrences shaped Han's life and fortune in significant ways. Finally, this essay aims to enrich scholarly understanding of family preservation in the Northern Song. For many years, the possibility of the Hans failing in this regard remained a source of anxiety for Han Qi. This fear shaped his interaction with members of the younger generations in tangible ways and created noticeable undertones in his writing on family matters.
The conclusion examines two stories from 2016 that reflect broader themes of veterans returning to Việt Nam. The appointment of Vietnam veteran and alleged war criminal Bob Kerrey to Chair of Fulbright University Vietnam revived the now-familiar narrative about American redemption in Việt Nam, while the pilgrimage of thousands of Australians to Việt Nam for the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan demonstrated a profound sense of entitlement to Vietnamese spaces. The conclusion summarizes that veterans returned in search of resolution or peace, which manifested in nostalgia. Upon return, many returnees found a measure of peace, but were challenged by the erasure of their wartime presence. Veterans negotiated this displacement by drawing from wartime narratives and performing nostalgic practices to reclaim their sense of belonging in Việt Nam. Yet the 2016 stories indicate that veteran influence in the country will decline as Việt Nam moves on from war.
Chapter 3 examines the third era of veterans’ return journeys, from 2006–16. This final period was defined by war commemoration. As Vietnam War commemoration surged in Australia and the United States, increasing numbers of Australian veterans chose to mark a string of major war anniversaries in Việt Nam, while the cultural militarization that paralleled the unfolding War on Terror led anti-war American veterans to reflect on their service. Việt Nam’s tourism industry tapped the growing Western market by turning toward kitsch reproductions of war that hinged on American memories. Organized tours became more popular as returnees became more diverse and reached retirement. Australian veterans strongly preferred commercial battlefield tourism and private troop reunions, while Americans favored peace- or healing-oriented returns. Among both groups, tours were refined and contained over the years to expatriate areas, increasingly marketing nostalgia tourism and secluding returnees from the realities of postwar Việt Nam.
This chapter examines victory in the war as an object of commemoration in late-Stalinist Moscow with an eye toward the paradoxical features of postwar commemorative culture. In particular, the analysis attempts to square a persistent, all-Soviet variant of the war narrative with the simultaneous public veneration of key events and personalities from the prerevolutionary Russian past. Rather than an ideological symbiosis, which seamlessly linked the war and the celebration of tsarist and other prerevolutionary accomplishments in a patriotic “double axis,” the chapter argues that postwar Soviet patriotism is better understood as an assemblage of disparate and contradictory, and at times highly fragmented, themes and images. Where the celebration of the Russian national past functioned to redirect and contain nationalistic impulses lest they disrupt the hierarchical integrity of the friendship of the peoples, representations of the war as a pan-Soviet event provided an alternative means of social mobilization amid the early Cold War, one that offset appeals to ethnic difference with a vision of a homogeneous Soviet people.
This chapter explores the relationship between Russian nationalism and official war memory during the zenith of nationalist participation in Soviet politics (1968–1980s). It focuses on some of the most explicit nationalist writings and the involvement of nationalist enthusiasts in late-socialist memory politics to determine the war’s place in the pro-regime nationalist imagination. As the chapter argues, Russian nationalists reveled in prerevolutionary Russian themes but largely abstained from claiming the war as an unambiguously Russian achievement. That is to say that at the peak of official support for Russian nationalist expression and activism, the Russocentric paradigm did not extend to official representations of victory, even among this paradigm’s most ardent supporters. In an era defined by the growth of Russian national self-expression, the victory myth retained its role as social leveler and instrument of pan-Soviet identity and mobilization. At the same time, however, several prominent nationalist writers and activists found ways to navigate the Soviet people doctrine by exploiting areas of ambiguity and overlap with the war’s official memory. By the end of the 1970s, among nationalist intellectuals and their supporters, this patriotic parallelism had begun to redefine the nature of victory in subtle but not insignificant ways.
This chapter considers the period of the war cult’s maturation (1960s–80s) as the victory myth came to eclipse alternative modes of patriotic expression. The chapter argues that late-socialist war commemorations, in line with the Soviet people doctrine, continued to dilute particularistic depictions of the Russian nation at war while channeling Russocentrism toward the contained outlets of prerevolutionary and early Soviet history, culture, and modernization narratives. But while authorities forced the most egregious claims about the Russocentric essence of victory underground, these ideas persisted at the margins of late-socialist culture, as well as outside the RSFSR, much as they had after the war. As the war cult grew in prominence, party-affiliated Russophile intellectuals occasionally contested the internationalist orientation of the dominant victory myth. In response, the Party promoted the war victory in a way that maximally overlapped with certain Russophile concerns (patriotism, love of the homeland, respect for tradition, anti-Westernism, etc.) while simultaneously enforcing the victory myth’s ideologically orthodox, pan-Soviet framing.
Douglass achieved international celebrity in his lifetime; thus his bicentennial was celebrated internationally. Still, despite his iconic status, Douglass's bicentennial remained more of a lowkey and highly decentralized affair due to complex converging historical forces. Nonetheless, the communities that celebrated Douglass in 2017–19 continue to plan for additional and more enduring commemorations in the years and decades to come.
How did a socialist society, ostensibly committed to Marxist ideals of internationalism and global class struggle, reconcile itself to notions of patriotism, homeland, Russian ethnocentrism, and the glorification of war? In this provocative new history, Jonathan Brunstedt pursues this question through the lens of the myth and remembrance of victory in World War II – arguably the central defining event of the Soviet epoch. The book shows that while the experience and legacy of the conflict did much to reinforce a sense of Russian exceptionalism and Russian-led ethnic hierarchy, the story of the war enabled an alternative, supra-ethnic source of belonging, which subsumed Russian and non-Russian loyalties alike to the Soviet whole. The tension and competition between Russocentric and 'internationalist' conceptions of victory, which burst into the open during the late 1980s, reflected a wider struggle over the nature of patriotic identity in a multiethnic society that continues to reverberate in the post-Soviet space. The book sheds new light on long-standing questions linked to the politics of remembrance and provides a crucial historical context for the patriotic revival of the war's memory in Russia today.
The second chapter deals with the black page commemorating the death of parson Yorick, often perceived as the pre-eminent symbol of Stern’s experimentation. This chapter suggests that with the black page, Sterne references a longstanding tradition of woodcut ornaments and mourning typography in funeral publications from the seventeenth to the eighteenth centuries, but which had reached their peak in the 1612 commemorations of the death of Henry, Prince of Wales. But he comments on how far this form of typographic commemoration has become clichéd by drawing from two recent typesetting trends: the representation of major funeral processions in newspapers and gravestone-like pages in the mid-century novel, as evidenced in Tom Jones (1749), Peregrine Pickle (1751) and William Toldervy’s Two Orphans (1756). Through considering the rarely studied mourning borders around Yorick’s epitaph alongside the black page’s double-sided covering of black ink, this chapter sees Sterne engaging with past and contemporary clichés of mourning iconography while playing upon – and pushing to its limits – the novelistic epitaph’s self-conscious manipulation of the printed page.
African American writers, artists, historians, and activists of the interwar period expended substantial energy to refute a widely held idea that US slavery was relatively benign. Among black American writers, it was poets – for commercial reasons and reasons to do with genre – who took up the topic of enslavement most often. Some wrote poems about the pride they took in the survival of their forebears. Others argued, in poetry, that trauma inflicted by enslavement required them to break free of its enduring spell. A third group, including Langston Hughes, Anne Spencer, and Jessie Fauset, used poetry to call into question the norms of contemporary history writing and of rules of evidence. African American poets in this group used poetry to create a new archive of enslaved people’s experiences and narratives.