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Title: Writing British national history in the twentieth century
Author: Salinsky, Mary
Awarding Body: King's College London (University of London)
Current Institution: King's College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2013
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Popular accounts of British history written around 1900 are very different from those written around 2000. There is no comprehensive study of the nature of this change. The popular narrative of England/Britain has been shaped by the nation’s role in the world, by contemporary historiographical approaches, and the different ways the British have thought about themselves and their nation. Popular, single author comprehensive syntheses of national history reveal assumptions about the character of the nation and the sort of stories that could convincingly be written about it at different times. These works are examined along with interviews of surviving historians and an examination of personal papers and publishers’ archives where possible. Under the impact of war, decolonisation, British nationalisms, the rise of social history and a new self-consciousness in historiography British history has become less Anglo-centric and the Empire is no longer central to the narrative. Historians integrated social and economic history more into their accounts. They were writing narratives that were more tentative, making the existence of multiple stories more explicit, providing more interpretation and attention to the significance of events. The accounts were less masculine but not much less white. Authors of popular British history were still predominantly white Oxbridge educated men. At the end of the century historians wrote livelier histories that were beginning to exploit media other than print. The narrative was less confident in its conclusion, but historians still asserted their belief in the value of British national history.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available