Hugh Trevor-Roper describes the creation of the Scottish "Highland" tradition — I was astounded to discover that the kilt was invented by an Englishman in 1730, while the so called "clan tartans" are a nineteenth century invention! In a similar vein (though without any revelations quite so surprising), Prys Morgan traces the development of Welsh national traditions during the Romantic period. David Cannadine's piece is quite topical, given the move towards a republic in Australia: he explains how most of the ceremonial associated with the British monarchy, which is often assumed to be of great antiquity, has in fact been constructed since 1870.
Moving away from Britain itself to British imperialism and colonialism, Bernard Cohn writes about the creation of new forms of authority in India, with special attention on the Imperial Assemblage of 1876, and Terence Ranger about the transplantation of Western traditions and the creation of entirely new "native" ones by colonial authorities in Africa (and the later re-use of these traditions by ethnic and nationalist movements). The final chapter, by Hobsbawm himself, surveys the development of mass traditions in Europe up to the First World War — the festivals, holidays, monuments, stamps, sports and schools associated with nationalism, the labour movement, and the rising middle classes.
- External links:
- buy from Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk
- details at Cambridge University Press
- Related reviews:
- books by Eric Hobsbawm
- more history of ideas
- more modern history
- books published by Cambridge University Press