New Book | The Rise of Heritage: Preserving the Past

Posted in books by Editor on August 7, 2014

From Cambridge UP:

Astrid Swenson, The Rise of Heritage: Preserving the Past in France, Germany and England, 1789–1914 (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2013), 432 pages, ISBN: 978-0521117623, $99.

9780521117623Where does our fascination for ‘heritage’ originate? This groundbreaking comparative study of preservation in France, Germany and England looks beyond national borders to reveal how the idea of heritage emerged from intense competition and collaboration in a global context. Astrid Swenson follows the ‘heritage-makers’ from the French Revolution to the First World War, revealing the importance of global networks driving developments in each country. Drawing on documentary, literary and visual sources, the book connects high politics and daily life and uncovers how, through travel, correspondence, world fairs and international congresses, the preservationists exchanged ideas, helped each other campaign and dreamed of establishing international institutions for the protection of heritage. Yet, these heritage-makers were also animated by fierce rivalry as international tension grew. This mixture of international collaboration and competition created the European culture of heritage, which defined preservation as integral to modernity, and still shapes current institutions and debates.

Astrid Swenson is Lecturer in European History at Brunel University, London. Her previous publications include From Plunder to Preservation: Britain and the Heritage of Empire, c.1800–1940 (co-edited with Peter Mandler, 2013).

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Part I. National Heritage Movements
1. In search of origins
2. The heritage-makers

Part II. International Meeting-Points
3. Exhibition mania
4. ‘Peace and goodwill among nations’

Part III. Transnational Campaigns
5. ‘A Morris dance ’round St Mark’s’
6. ‘A yardstick for a people’s cultural attainment’



One Response

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  1. Michael Yonan said, on August 7, 2014 at 12:30 pm

    I’ve just been reading an interesting new book that treats this subject in the Habsburg lands: Matthew Rampley’s The Vienna School of Art History: Empire and the Politics of Scholarship 1847-1918. Focused later than HECAA’s chronological scope, but he notes that there were attempts to think in these terms in the eighteenth century, too. None other than a certain Maria Theresa …

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