Northern memories and the English Middle Ages

By Tim William Machan

Northern memories and the English Middle Ages


  • eBook

Book Information

  • Format: Hardcover
  • ISBN: 978-1-5261-4535-2
  • Pages: 200
  • Publisher: Manchester University Press
  • Price: £85.00
  • Published Date: May 2020
  • BIC Category: Literature, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: classical, early & medieval, Cultural studies, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 18th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / Medieval, LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 17th Century, LITERARY CRITICISM / European / Scandinavian, Medieval Literature, Cultural Studies, United Kingdom, Great Britain, Northern Europe, Scandinavia, Literary studies: c 1800 to c 1900, Society & social sciences / Cultural studies, Literary studies: c 1600 to c 1800, Literary studies: ancient & classical, Literature & literary studies / Literary studies: c 1500 to c 1800
  • 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


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

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