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The Invention of Tradition (Canto)
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Top Customer Reviews
But so what? What is the importance of discovering the "truth" of a legend? Does it make us less reverential of it? Judging by the continued popularity of Santa Claus, no. Traditions, after all, aren't really about truth. Many traditions are simply lies that have been repeated enough that they become ennobled. The point isn't that they were once lies. The point is the journey they have made from lie to legend.
That is what is so intriguing about this book. True, there are other, more political subtexts in these essays-some of the authors clearly don't LIKE that the lies have become cultural "truth"-but all of the essays tell of the trek each of these myths made. Far from the "inconsequence" that another reviewer has mentioned, these essays deepen our understanding of cherished myths and even make them more endearing.
The question, of course, is inadequate for what? And the answer is that Welsh culture proved inadequate to stave off English encroachment and so traditions that privileged Welsh culture, and at the same time allowed it to be consumed by the English, were invented. The Welsh gave themselves a grandiose past based on association with the Celtic race. Similarly the Welsh language was discovered to be the tongue of the ancient Gauls and Britans. The Druids were studied and emulated one result of which was the (re) introduction of cremation. Another result, not mentioned by Morgan, was the creation of societies with grand names such as the Ancient Order of Druids and Oddfellows, that were tied to London through their involvement in the insurance business. The London connection was all important. The first Welsh societies were established in London, the Ancient Britons in 1715 and the Honourable Society of Cymmrodorion in 1751. These societies propagated a view of the Welsh as the primary people of Britain.Read more ›
The "setts" of tartans purporting to show a particular pattern of plaid belonging to a particular Highland clan is an even more recent invention. The concept of a unified group wearing the same tartan began with the English formation of the Highland regiments in the 1740s and later. The Scottish cloth industry recognized a good thing when they saw it and with the help of the Scottish Romantic movement and with promotion by Sir Walter Scott, by the 1820s, Clan/tartan pattern books (which often disagreed with one another) were happily catering to this invented tradition.
Invented by mis-guided or plainly fraudulent "antiquarians", the concept of particular tartan patterns being associated with a specific Clan is one of the long-running jokes played by the Scots on the rest of the world. Rather like the game of golf.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is UNBELIEVABLY dense and if you don't have a wicked case of Anglophilia (I don't) I doubt you will find this very engaging. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Euler Buff
The ideas are fascinating. The writing is about as turgid as academic prose can get. But no one said it would be easy ...Published 17 months ago by Richard L Muller
language is a bit difficult .and occasionally esoteric; could be more succinct, but interesting and challenging. Academic in the approach.Published on October 27, 2013 by Kaye Birks
This well known collection of essays discusses the manufacture of historic traditions within Britain and some of its colonies. Read morePublished on August 29, 2012 by R. Albin
This collection of essays, edited by Marxist professor Eric Hobsbawn, is dedicated to the 'modernist' theory of nationhood. Read morePublished on August 2, 2011 by Stephen Cowley
This book is one of the sociological must-reads for nation building and growth of national identity.Published on May 20, 2008 by lifeproof