Editing the Nation’s Memory

Textual Scholarship and Nation-Building in Nineteenth-Century Europe


Volume Editors: and
Europe’s nation-states emerged from a complex of nineteenth-century developments in which cultural consciousness-raising played a formative role. The nineteenth-century reflection on Europe’s national identities involved a re-inventory and revalorisation of the vernacular cultural past and, above all, the nation’s literary heritage. Everywhere in Europe, foundational texts (including medieval epics and romances, ancient laws and chronicles) were retrieved from their obscure repositories. In new, printed editions, prepared according to the emerging academic standards of textual scholarship, they were appropriated, contested and canonised as public symbols of the nation’s permanence in history. This often neglected, but crucially important Europe-wide process of ‘editing the nation’s memory’ involved old states and emerging nations, large and small countries, metropolitan and peripheral regions; it straddled politics, the academic professionalization of textual scholarship and of the human sciences, and literary taste. This collection of studies by outstanding specialists offers a comparative synopsis on exemplary cases from all corners of the European continent.

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Pages: 221–239
“…excellent European Studies series…” in: Journal of Common Market Studies, Vol. 43, No. 5, 2005
Authors in this volume
Joep LEERSSEN: Introduction: Philology and the European Construction of National Literatures
Texts Between Past and Present: European Readerships, National Rootedness
Dirk VAN HULLE: A Darwinian Change in European Editorial Thinking
Geert LERNOUT: The Angel of Philology
Case Studies I: Emerging Canons Around the European Rim
Darko DOLINAR: Slovene Text Editions, Slavic Philology and Nation-Building
Paulius V. SUBAČIUS: Inscribing Orality: The First Folklore Editions in the Baltic States
Paula HENRIKSON: Scania Province Law and Nation-Building in Scandinavia
Mary-Ann CONSTANTINE: Welsh Literary History and the Making of ‘The Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales’
Bernadette CUNNINGHAM: John O’Donovan’s Edition of the Annals of the Four Masters: An Irish Classic?
João DIONÍSIO: After the Lisbon Earthquake: Reassembling History
Magí SUNYER: Medieval Heritage in the Beginnings of Modern Catalan Literature, 1780-1841
Philippe MARTEL: The Troubadours and the French State
Case Studies II: European Cross-Currents: England, Germany and the Low Countries
Tom SHIPPEY: The Case of Beowulf
Thomas BEIN: Walther von der Vogelweide and Early-Nineteenth-Century Learning
Herman BRINKMAN: Hoffmann von Fallersleben and Medieval Dutch Folksong
Jan PAUWELS: Private to Public: Book Collecting and Philology in Early-Independent Belgium (1830-1880)
Marita MATHIJSEN: Stages in the Development of Dutch Literary Historicism
Joep LEERSSEN: The Nation’s Canon and the Book Trade
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