The Creation of National Identities

Europe, 18th—20th Centuries


There is nothing more international than the formation of national identities. From barbarian epics to ethnographic museums, from national languages to emblematic landscapes or typical costumes, this book retraces the cultural fabrication of the European nations, documenting how national identities are not facts of nature but constructions.

The list of basic elements of a national identity is well known: ancestral founders, a history, heroes, a language, monuments, landscapes, and folklore. Compiling this list was the great enterprise carried out throughout Europe during the last two centuries. Patriotic militancy and the transnational exchanges of ideas and know-how created identities that are very specific, but similar precisely in their difference.

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Anne-Marie Thiesse, Senior Researcher at the CNRS in Paris, is a literary studies researcher and historian specializing in the cultural history of contemporary Europe. She is interested in the relationship between literature and politics in the 18th–21st centuries.
1 The Europe of Nations

Part 1 The Identification of the Ancestors

2 An Aesthetic Revolution
 1  The Caledonian Iliad
 2  The Offensive against the One Single Culture
 3  The Songs of the Nations
 4  The Blossoming of the Bards
 5  The Oldest Daughter of the Celts
 6  The Nation to the Rescue of the Fatherland
 7  The Cosmopolitanism of the National

3 One Nation, One Language
 1  The Invention of the National Languages
 2  Language of the Right, Language of the Left
 3  Language of the Book, Language of the People

4 International Sponsorship of a National Culture
 1  A Nation for the South Slavs
 2  The Descendants of Homer
 3  The Sons and Daughters of the Dacians
 4  From the Tradition to the National Liberation

5 One State, Several Nations
 1  The National Awakening in the Empire
 2  Fraternity of the Peoples and National Minorities

6 Foundational Epics
 1  The Land of Heroes
 2  The Sons and Daughters of Kalev
 3  The Armorican Epic

7 National Histories
 1  The National Novel
 2  National Stages
 3  Historical Monuments
 4  The War of the Goths
 5  The Disseminators of the Patrimony

Part 2 Folklore

8 Surveys
 1  Inquiries
 2  The Great Collections of Tales
 3  The National in the Indo-European
 4  Popular Melodies

9 The Illustrated Nation
 1  Landscapes
 2  Traditional Costumes
 3  Exhibitions of Identity
 4  Patriotic Museums
 5  National Art
 6  From the Epic to the Postage Stamp

Part 3 Mass Culture

10 The Nation as Horizon
 1  Nationalizing the State
 2  Education for the National Project
 3  The Patriotic Body
 4  Traveling across the Nation
 5  The National Nature
 6  Consumption and Identity

11 The Nation through Joy
 1  The Education of the Proletariat by Means of Folklore
 2  Totalitarian Folklore
 3  National-Communism

12 European Identity
Selected Bibliography
This book is for all interested in the history of the formation of Europe and European countries' national identity.
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