- Format: Hardcover
- ISBN: 978-1-5261-4535-2
- Pages: 200
- Price: £85.00
- Published Date: May 2020
- Series: Manchester Medieval Literature and Culture
This book provocatively argues that much of what English writers of the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries remembered about medieval English geography, history, religion and literature, they remembered by means of medieval and modern Scandinavia. These memories, in turn, figured in something even broader. Protestant and fundamentally monarchical, the Nordic countries constituted a politically kindred spirit in contrast with France, Italy and Spain. Along with the so-called Celtic fringe and overseas colonies, Scandinavia became one of the external reference points for the forging of the United Kingdom. Subject to the continual refashioning of memory, the region became at once an image of Britain's noble past and an affirmation of its current global status, rendering trips there rides on a time machine.
'Together, the overall focus on this cultural memory and the rich selection of sources distinguish Machan's work from others in the field. Given the sheer historical scope of the included material and the comparatively limited space for discussion, Machan's book does a good job of presenting newcomers with a sceptical and analytical framework of our own for tackling the complicated web of Nordic medievalism.'
The Review of English Studies
'Machan is one of few scholars to possess the intellectual breadth, depth, and dexterity required to undertake a project of this scope. The results admirably illuminate an English ethnography that, over the course of a millennium, fashioned and refashioned ideas of Scandinavia as a means to shore up the shifting foundations of England's sense of its own place in the world.'
Studies in the Age of Chaucer
1 The spectacle of history
2 Modern travel, medieval places
3 Ethnography and heritage
4 An open air museum
5 Stories that make things real
6 Narrative, memory, meaning
Tim William Machan is Professor of English at the University of Notre Dame