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How the Past was UsedHistorical cultures, c. 750-2000$
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Peter Lambert and Björn Weiler

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780197266120

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197266120.001.0001

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(p.1) 1 Introduction
How the Past was Used

Peter Lambert

Björn Weiler

British Academy

This chapter outlines the main aims of the book, in particular its desire to move beyond the chronological and cultural myopia prevalent in much modern work on the production of history. It proceeds to deal with two major themes: the historiography of the concept of ‘historical culture', and what it might mean in practice. The first section explores the concept’s use in modern academic writing, and outlines what is distinctive about the approach taken in this volume. The second sketches a phenomenology of historical culture. Particular attention is paid to four major themes: the desirability of a past; the premise that history is inherently truthful; the means with which versions of the past are constructed; and the changing role of the public in the production and consumption of historical culture.

Keywords:   historical culture, historiography, modern academic writing, history, desirability of a past

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