For historians centennial commemorations furnish an excellent heuristic tool for gauging late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century attitudes towards the past and the present. Centenary celebrations helped to revive, perpetuate and reinforce public perceptions of historical events and people in collective memory. They were fairly infrequent before 1850 but increased in size and numbers by the end of the long nineteenth century, so much so that a ‘cult of the centenary’ had become established throughout the wider Western world around 1900. At one level, such events were ephemeral affairs. And yet many left a lasting legacy. Above all, as part of the contemporary processes of the ‘invention of traditions’ and the conscious national ‘self-historicization’ of the established nation-states, they offer crucial insights into the social, cultural and political dynamics of the period.
Table of Contents
1 Centenaries, Self-Historicization and the Mobilization of the Masses
T.G. Otte (UEA)
2 America and the King Alfred Millenary Commemorations
Erik Goldstein (Boston)
3 An Entente Centenary: Commemorating Trafalgar without wounding "the susceptibilities of France"
Andrew Lambert (KCL)
4 "Offensive to national sentiment"?: The Bicentenary of the Union of 1707
Ewen A. Cameron (Edinburgh)
5 The Limits of Nationalist Imagination in the Poltava and Bessarabia Ceremonials in the Russian Empire
George Gilbert (Southampton)
6 Peace and War: Anglo-American Centenary Projects and the Lincoln Statue Controversy, 1910-1927
Geoff Hicks (UEA)
7 Commemorating Jan Hus, Creating a Czechoslovak State: The 1915 Quincentenary
Cynthia Paces (New Jersey)
8 The Cult of the Fallen Soldier in France during the Great War: Between Tradition and Modernity
Christina Theodosiou (Paris)
9 Political Centenary Commemorations in Early Twentieth-Century Britain
Roland Quinault (London)
10 Commemoration through Dramatic Performance: Historical Pageants and the Age of Anniversaries, 1905-1920
Angela Bartie (Edinburgh), Linda Fleming (Glasgow), Mark Freeman (UCL), Tom Hulme (KCL) and Paul Readman (KCL)
T. G. Otte is Professor of Diplomatic History at the University of East Anglia, UK.