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‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance and the First World War, 1919-1939

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‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance and the First World War, 1919-1939


Edwardian Britain suffered from a severe bout of what contemporaries referred to as 'pageant fever'. Up and down the country, communities small and large staged theatrical re-presentations of incidents in their and the nation's past. Many historians have commented on this Edwardian enthusiasm, and specifically on the tendency to shy away from depicting more recent events in historical pageants. Fewer, however, have noted the continuing vitality of the pageant movement as a key element in cultures of informal education and the theatrical history of the interwar period. In this paper we examine how pageants after the First World War depicted the events of the conflict. Although most pageants still focused on the distant past, the war was almost a reference point, and sometimes the subject of an actual scene. We consider the evolution of depictions of the war, and the various ways in which it was considered appropriate and suitable to commemorate the events of the conflict in dramatic form. Pageants were an important and often overlooked way of conveying messages of victory, sacrifice and regret, and as such can be seen as a central feature of memorialisation and popular education during the interwar period.

Bartie, Angela and Fleming, Linda and Freeman, Mark and Hulme, Tom and Readman, Paul and Tupman, Charlotte (2016) ‘And those who live, how shall I tell their fame?’ Historical pageants, collective remembrance and the First World War, 1919-1939. Historical Research . ISSN 1468-2281 (In Press)


Item Type: Article
Subjects: History
Keywords: historical pageants, World War I, memorialisation, commemoration, remembrance, theatre, performance, conflict
Divisions: Institute of Historical Research > Centre for Metropolitan History
Depositing User:
URI: http://sas-space.sas.ac.uk/id/eprint/6364
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