David Lowenthal, "Changing the Past," from _The Past Is A Foreign Country_, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1985, pp. 263-362.

Chapter 6: Changing the Past

If you do not like the past, change it.

William L. Burton, 'The use and abuse of history'1

Every act of recognition alters survivals from the past. Simply to appreciate or protect a relic, let alone to embellish or imitate it, affects its form or our impressions. Just as selective recall skews memory and subjectivity shapes historical insight, so manipulating antiquities refashions their appearance and meaning. Interaction with a heritage continually alters its nature and context, whether by choice or by chance.

Such changes can be profoundly disturbing, for they cast doubt on all historical knowledge. As Chapter 2 showed, we need a stable past to validate tradition, to confirm our own identity, and to make sense of the present. How can we rely on a past that is fluid and alterable? One solution is to remain unaware that the past has been changed, like many who depend wholly on oral tradition. Another is to suppose such alterations inconsequential, leaving the past essentially what it was. A third is to believe that we can rectify previous changes, like science-fiction time wardens restoring traces and relics to their original state. A fourth is to accept alterations as necessary evils, conserving past remains against still worse erosion and despoliation.

None of these stances wholly allays suspicions that, like memory and history, the reliquary past is a will-o'-the-wisp. Time corrupts its surviving traces whether we wish it to or no, making relics ever more outdated, less recognizable, and subject to graver misinterpretation. Philip Larkin suggests how the centuries eroded the original meaning of the medieval hand-linked figures in 'An Arundel Tomb'.

Side by side, their faces blurred,
The earl and countess lie in stone
* * *
They would not think to lie so long.
Such faithfulness in effigy
Was just a detail friends would see:
A sculptor's sweet commissioned

264 Changing the past

Thrown off in helping to prolong
The Latin names around the base
* * *
Now, helpless in the hollow of
An unarmorial age . . .
* * *
Only an attitude remains:
Time has transfigured them into
Untruth. 2

Ensuing consequences likewise alter how we view relics. Surviving Georgian structures look different in 1985 than they did in 1885 not simply because they are now older and scarcer but because a further century has added to the scene a host of neo- Georgian structures. New insights and needs, new memories and forgettings force each generation to revise what relics it notices and how to interpret them.

For many of these alterations we are not responsible; nothing can prevent them. Others involve interactions with history and antiquities that are to some extent matters of choice. In either case, any treatment of the past, however circumspect, invariably alters it. What kinds of change are thereby induced, and what occasions them, is the subject of this chapter. The first two parts focus primarily on how changes affect material relics, notably artifacts; Chapter 5 surveyed similar alterations of history and memory. The motives and reasons that underlie all these alterations are reviewed in the third part of this chapter.

Relics undergo two types of transformation. One affects them directly: protection, iconoclasm, enhancement, reuse alter their substance, form, or relation to locale. Action of these kinds wasted British abbeys into ruins, concentrated classical antiquities at the British Museum, transplanted London Bridge to Arizona. The second type of transformation is indirect, impinging less on the physical condition of survivals than on how they are seen, explained, illustrated, and appreciated. Relics inspire copies, replicas, models, emulations, depictions; monuments and re-enactments commemorate people and events. Action of these kinds converted Edinburgh into 'the Athens of the North', made simulated half-timbering an inter-war suburban hallmark, littered Victorian England with innumerable medieval reminders, and embellished the bicentennial American scene with Revolutionary pageantry


No sharp boundary separates these activities, and the results are often analogous. Copying, imitating, and emulating antiquities may stem from or arouse a desire to protect or enhance the originals; safeguarding relics often determines how they are displayed. Yet each form of impact has particular effects, some more drastic than others. From identifying, displaying, and protecting relics to removing, embellishing, and readapting them tends to involve increasingly radical alterations.3

265 Changing the past

All patterns and moulds we can skillfully make You won't tell the difference between ours and a fake! So if you want your building to look like the real thing Just pick up the phone and give J. R. a ring.
'Ode to GRP', advertisement for glass-reinforced plastic.4

One always rebuilds the monuments in his own way. But it is already something gained to have used only the original stones.

Marguerite Yourcenar, 'Reflections on the composition of Memoirs of Hadrian.'5


Valuing antiquity leads us to proclaim its existence: here it is, we want to say, an early, original, or ancient feature. And so we mark the site or the relic. Designation locates the antiquity on our mental map and lends it status; the signpost heralding its age also distinguishes it from present-day surroundings. Like a painting in a gallery, the marked antiquity becomes an exhibit contrived for our attention.

Markers may echo the past even if the things they identify are not themselves old, like European place-names given to American settlements. Knowingly anachronistic street and pub signs in British suburbia - Sylvan Walks, Dells, Hop Poles, Woodmans, Wheatsheafs, Ploughs - celebrate a generalized rural past. More English house-names are chosen as reminders of previous homes or past holidays than for any other purpose - hence the proliferation of Windermeres and Braemars in the 1930s, of San Remos, Tossas, and Riminis today.6 A family or functional name on a building is more likely to identify a previous owner or use than the present one. 'The Schoolhouse' is a building that used to be a school; on a present-day school such a sign would be redundant


The past thus identified may long antedate present memory. Thousands of American towns attest their founders' hunger for the sanction of antiquity; even hybrid innovations like Thermopolis, Minneapolis, Itasca, Spotsylvania, embody some lustre of age. Innumerable Euclid Drives, Appian Ways, and Phaeton Roads suggest ancient felicities, and Greek initials bedeck fraternity houses as though the Eleusinian mysteries were modern rites.7

Some traces of antiquity are so faint that only contrivance secures their recognition. In the absence of signposts, how many visitors to an old battlefield could tell that it was an historical site? But for markers, people would generally pass by most ancient monuments unaware of their antiquity. One risk of deleting archaeological sites from the British Ordnance Survey, as has been proposed, is that landowners and local governments are apt to scant the value if not to doubt the very existence of antiquities no longer pinpointed on maps, thus hastening their actual extinction.8 Historic plaques similarly rescue from
268 Changing the past
obscurity homes of the famous. Except for the rare Monticello or Kelmscott, displaying Jefferson's own genius and Morris's own memorabilia, few houses are visibly distinctive simply for having sheltered great men; they become evocative only through subsequent markers.

An imposing marker may overshadow the relic it designates; if some signposts save history, others drown it in trivia. Local interest lends notoriety to places that 'marked some event almost too meager to comprehend', along such lines as 'Near this site . . . was believed to be . . . the original shed where Josiah Dexter, an early settler of Dexterville, hid from four Hessians'.9 Many designations are avowedly speculative. At Top Withens, a farm associated with Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights, a sign cautions pilgrims that 'The buildings, even when complete, bore no resemblance to the house she described. But the situation may have been in her mind when she wrote of the moorland setting.'10 Other markers are frankly counter-factual, like the claim in an American Civil War park that 'Had General Lee been less troubled by the approach of battle he would have enjoyed the view of this fine pinewood forest'; the sign on a watering-trough that 'This is where Paul Revere would have watered his horse had he come this way'; the advertisement for a neo-Tudor time-share property that 'Queen Elizabeth would like to have slept here'; and the 'Seed from a lotus plant, that might have been picked by Christopher Columbus, had the American continent not got in the way.'11

Written signs obtrude both as objects and as linguistic symbols whose meaning and perhaps veracity must be pondered. After the parish council complained about the misleading word 'Castle' on a National Trust signpost at Bramber, a Norman relic in Sussex, the word 'ruin' was appended. Familiarity renders some notices invisible, others increasingly obtrusive: a sign identifying the churchyard through which Wordsworth's daughter ran to him as 'Dora's Field' at first lends emphasis to but subsequently encumbers the scene. If we do not need to be shown the way to or told the name of an historic site, why should our view be cluttered for the sake of others less knowledgeable or venturesome? To be temporarily 'lost' is often better than to be over-informed.12

Yet markers can also enhance the past. To American visitors European village names conjure up a thousand years of history. Places need not conform to the historical images their names imply; to provide a distinct impression of some past is enough. We do not feel cheated to find Bath more Georgian than Roman, Finchingfield substantially a nineteenth century rather than a medieval village, or London's 'Roman' Barbican with only scanty pre-medieval traces. Markers magnify our sense of the past simply by echoing the condition of being historical; the echo alone may suffice. More commonly they help, like patina, to validate antiquity. 'That 1537 over the way is TRUE', exulted Frederick Law Olmsted on his visit to Chester, for 'I can see the sun shine into the figures.'13

Changing the past 271

Mere recognition thus transforms the visible past. Identifying and classifying may tell us much about relics but often occludes our view of them, sacrificing communion with the past to facts about it.


Showing off the past is the common result of identifying it. Labelling a relic affirms its historical significance; displaying it enhances its appeal. Antiquities in museums are enshrined in glass cases, mounted on cushions, flattered by spotlighting. Relics in situ are freed of surrounding encumbrances. Son-et- lumiere programmes dramatize the past and set it off from nearby excrescences and modern obtrusions.14

Cultural norms about how relics should be displayed determine the type and extent of alteration. For a picturesquely overgrown sixteenth-century ruined Italian nymphaeum, architects from several countries recently proposed highly diverse treatments. An English idea was to provide an entry to the site through a rough grassy walk, with unobtrusively weather-proofed ruined arches framing the distant city; an American scheme replaced the grass with paving and covered the ruin with metal and plastic corrugated roofing; a Jordanian rebuilt the building, adding vaulting and three supported domes; a West African replaced the grass with plastic turf, left the ruin as it was, and fenced out the public. 15

Each of these solutions treated display along with protection, appearance, and function; indeed, these aims are often impossible to isolate. Original intent and use, historical authenticity, and contemporary aesthetics may buttress one or another treatment of antiquities. Preservationists seek to save views of St Paul's from tower-block obstruction; developers counter that the Cathedral was meant to be glimpsed intermittently from built-up streets. Against criticism that proposed council houses would destroy a superb open view of Beverley Minster, local planners retort that the Minster is no isolated art object and should be reincorporated into the community that built and sustained it.16 Defenders of the ivy on Harvard College buildings wished to retain the familiar 'Ivy League' look that lends the Yard a picturesque unity; ivy detractors noted that look was of recent origin, cited the recurring cost of clearing the roots, and felt the buildings should be seen as their builders intended.'17

Demands for intelligibility often justify altering ruins; the picturesque but shapeless Roman sites, medieval castles, and monastic ruins in British state care have been made more comprehensible by lowering ground surfaces, heightening walls, revealing buried details. Subsequent additions that 'confuse' the scene are removed (wartime Nissen huts and nineteenth-century pigsties but not eighteenth-century dovecotes or seventeenth century gateways). The surrounding sward, cropped with military tidiness, enhances the
Changing the past 273
bleak, austere, and majestic mood the public has come to expect from ruins. 18 'It's worth erring towards order and control', notes a heritage-guide reviewer, 'to offer something to people who are not specialists in medieval history.'19

The paraphernalia of display orchestrate and at times dominate the view. It is already 'difficult to appreciate the glories of Gothic architecture filtered through a mesh of ladders, exhibition stands, moulded plastic chairs and badly-placed, cluttered notice boards', and some fear that every historic building open to the public may soon require a new structure nearby to house the interpretive apparatus.20 Some visitor centres are designed to clash with the ancient features they display; an ultra-modern geodesic dome was built for Connecticut's Dinosaur State Park, the State Commissioner explained, 'for the contrast between the very new and the 200 million year old tracks'.21

Whether blatantly modern or unobtrusively in keeping, ancillary attractions can eclipse the actual relics. The most conspicuous landmark at Gettysburg Battlefield is the tower that yields a bird's-eye perspective no Civil War participant ever had. To see the 'living' farm, the cyclorama, and the electric map at the Gettysburg Visitor Center takes longer than most visitors can spare for the entire battlefield.22 Few who visit the Minute Man National Historical Park between Concord and Lexington get beyond the display centre into the remnants of the Revolutionary landscape. Some structures literally overwhelm the antiquities they are meant to display: the Lincoln 'birthplace' log cabin and Lenin's tomb seem puny and insignificant inside the great marble temples that house them. Other traces of past events remain invisible even when well advertised - like the tree in the Bois de Boulogne purportedly hit by Czar Alexander II's would-be assassin. Neither bullet nor bullet-hole could be seen, but 'the guides will point it out to visitors for the next eight hundred years', wrote Mark Twain, 'and when it decays and falls down they will put up another there and go on with the same old story'.23

Promotional efforts leave their own imprint, deplored by some and hailed by others. Floodlighting is held to free York Minster from visual pollution, but to turn Canterbury Cathedral into Dracula's castle.24 Those who deprecate interpretive 'noise' think advance knowledge and unobtrusive guidebooks ample; others look for ways to make antiquities accessible to the widest possible public.25 It is clear that the more interpretation becomes available, the more people rely on it; they prefer to imbibe history in comfort in heritage centres and are seldom conscious of, or worried about, the alterations of the past that interpretation implies.

Changing the past 275

Display arouses the impulse to conserve, but also increases the need for it. Protective measures may detract from the appearance or intelligibility of relics, yet without them they vanish or decay all the sooner. The erosion of Niagara Falls poses a dilemma common to many 'natural' relics that survive only by dint of much artifice. The celebrated view of the Falls supports a multi- million-dollar tourist industry. But man, not nature, sustains that view, threatened by build-up of talus at the base and by demands for power that episodically vary the flow of water. To keep the Falls as immortalized in painting and literature - and in tourist brochures - would require arresting the river's headward erosion, an immensely costly engineering task. Erosion will in the long run - a few million years, perhaps - utterly destroy Niagara no matter what is done. But preservation is not concerned with so long a run. What are the short-run alternatives? Should the Falls remain moulded to our image of them? Or should nature take its course, and visitors be made to get used to seeing the Falls change?26

The granite nose of the Old Man of the Mountain at Franconia Notch, New Hampshire, would crumble away were it not bolted to the face. Only periodic scouring keeps visible the Neolithic white horses outlined on Britain's chalk scarps; regular recarving prevents erosion from disfiguring Gutzon Borglum's four sculpted presidential heads on Mt Rushmore.

Architectural antiquities require similar intervention. The Leaning Tower of Pisa must be kept leaning; left to fall or set upright, it would lose most of its historical identity. Protection often entails disfiguring artifice: many Gothic churches and cathedrals were saved from collapse only by nineteenth-century restorations later condemned as meretricious.

Protective action may engender or augment erosive processes. Ancient earthworks fenced off against mechanized agriculture attract burrowing rabbits displaced from ploughed fields. The iron clamps with which earlier conservators kept Acropolis columns and caryatids from crumbling are now, owing to expansive corrosion, themselves a major agency of destruction. Exposure to mass admiration magnifies existing menaces and spawns new ones. Fragile antiquities do not survive much handling. Tapestries soon get dirty and deteriorate with frequent washing; old furniture is roped off so it will not be sat on, books pinioned against removal from shelves. Furnishings and fabrics must be shielded against the effects of light - curtains installed, blinds kept down, slipcovers added. Such precautions are bound to alter the feel of the past.27

Public viewing can threaten the very survival of ancient sites, as instanced in the fading, cracking, and destructive mould on the cave paintings at Luscious and Altamira. English cathedral steps, paving stones, and floor memorials are sorely vulnerable to tourism.

Canterbury Cathedral has suffered manifold woes: paving in the south aisle worn down more than an inch, a stone lost from a mosaic in the Trinity Chapel, inscriptions on the floor of the southwest transept rendered unreadable, the edges of brass fittings in the Martyrdom worn smooth, the bell tower unvisitable owing to wear on the roof leading, graffiti-marked piers, walls, and columns. To minimize wear and tear, cathedrals more and more ration access, rope off or cover up fragile areas, make visitors don felt overshoes, and replace relics with replicas.28

Preservative action often involves prolonged disturbance subversive of display. Like modern airports, medieval cathedrals seem forever wrapped in scaffolding and builders' rubble, detracting from their flavour of antiquity. Protection can debase the ambience of antiquities even when their fabric remains intact; Casa Grande, an ancient American Indian adobe structure in Arizona, is overwhelmed by its glass and steel protective roof. As with Lincoln's and Lenin's marble carapaces, the canopy reduces Casa Grande to triviality, and 'it now takes powers of imaginative reconstruction far beyond anything that can be inculcated by current "visitor-orientation" techniques to see the abode as the great monument of the plain'.29

Popularity threatens the fabric and the feeling of history; to prevent or mitigate such
278 Changing the past
damage further affects surviving relics. Thus preservation sets in train the extensive remodelling of the very past it aims to protect.


We also remould the past to our expectations by embellishing its relics. Although revision is seldom the ostensible motive, removing dirt or rust, reconstructing a ruin, restoring an old building to what it might or should have been, and adding to extant remains all in fact aim at improving on what has survived.

That improving the past meant changing it long went unrecognized. Nineteenth century restorers who purged medieval churches of later additions fancied they were reconstituting the true past. The purpose of many such alterations was ideological; in excising 'harmful' accretions and restoring 'pure' Gothic, ecclesiological reformers sought to retrieve the atmosphere and thereby rekindle the spirit of early Christian faith. To that end more than seven thousand medieval English churches - over half those surviving were profoundly transformed.30

Restored structures were not only dead but anachronistic. Not even the most painstaking renovation conformed with original work. 'Restoration is impossible', wrote Francis Palgrave in 1847 of attempts to do so in Bordeaux. 'You cannot grind old bones new. You may repeat the outward form (though rarely with minute accuracy), but you cannot the material, the bedding and laying, and above all the tooling...There is an anachronism in every stone.' In any renovation of antiquity 'the sensation of sham is invincible', he commented later. 'In the most perfect resuscitation of Henry the Third "Early English", the tooling and well-tempered town-made chisel inscribes "Victoria and Albert" upon every stone.'31 Similarly, the men who had built St Mark's Venice 'drew everything by hand, set out everything by eye, and seem to have had an instinctive delight in curved and rounded and irregular surfaces and outlines everywhere', noted G. E. Street. By contrast, those engaged in restoring the cathedral in the 1880s had 'to have every angle perfectly square, every dimension exact, and every line straight . . . [Since] no single axiom of the perfect nineteenth century workman was ever regarded by the old builders and decorators with an atom of respect', it was grotesque to patch up a medieval building with modern work.32

Appalled by the destructive renovation of English churches and cathedrals, Ruskin and then Morris and the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings denounced all reconstitution of the past:

In the course of this double process of destruction and addition the whole surface of the building is necessarily tampered with; so that the appearance of antiquity is taken away from such old parts of
280 Changing the past
the fabric as are left, and there is no laying to rest in the spectator the suspicion of what may have been lost; and in short, a feeble and lifeless forgery is the final result


The proper way to treat a relic was to leave it alone: 'Resist all tampering with either the fabric or ornament of the building as it stands; if it has become inconvenient for its present use, . . . raise another building rather than alter or enlarge the old one', Morris concluded Ancient buildings were 'monuments of a bygone art, created by bygone manners, that modern art cannot meddle with without destroying'.33

Morris's 'anti-scrape' tenets came to guide the care of architectural and other relics throughout Europe. Restorers were constrained to respect the attritions and additions of time alone with the original structures. And where renovation was essential it was made obvious; historical honesty required that modern replacements be clearly distinguishable from surviving relics. To ensure that no one mistook them for the old, textures and colours of replacement materials were chosen to contrast with the original fabric. But while such flagrant disparities between old and new alerted viewers to the fact of restoration, they detracted from the aura of antiquity. Plugging holes in the Arch of Constantine with material of much lighter tone and harder outline than the surrounding stonework, for example, destroyed its unity of character.34

Other aesthetic considerations nowadays temper anti-scrape purism. Replacements are meant to harmonize with original surviving elements, and to be detectable only by expert inspection of the tooling on new stonework, of dates on new stained glass and wood, or of their slightly differing tints. Replacements 'should seem to recede visually behind the original material, yet be so harmonious as not to detract but rather to add to the whole'. Filling lacunae with marginally less textured materials coloured nearly like the original stonework has kept the Arch of Titus's sense of unity. At Herculaneum, faint lines on dull-toned plaster carry the eye over and beyond gaps in the frescoes.35 New heads of fourteenth-century figures from the west front of York Minster harmonize with the bodies, yet differ enough not to deceive spectators into thinking them original.

But the propriety of restoration still generates passionate dispute. Oxford dons and graduates, fond of the old Sheldonian busts of Roman household guardians eroded beyond recognition, criticized proposed replacements as modern anachronisms. At Wells Cathedral those who saw charm and authenticity in the erosive veneer of age termed sculptural replacements 'a disaster, negating the rhythm and vitiating the deeply personal nature of the original carvings'; even inspired new carvings were 'at best a crude substitute for the medieval sculpture, however battered and fragmented'.36

The wider public, however, unabashedly enjoys reconstructions. Few have the taste or the training to appreciate the past simply from fragmentary remains. Heaps of fallen stones convey nothing to the ordinary spectator; only reconstitution makes them coherent
282 Changing the past

and evocative. Having excavated Knossos, Sir Arthur Evans restored the palace to make it comprehensible; his reconstruction 'was wrong, but boatloads of cultural tourists to Crete have been grateful to him', for it 'helps them interpret and understand the site'.37 Many popular sites in Greece -- the Erechtheum, the Temple of Nike, the Treasury of Delphi--are largely restorations. The taste for fragments discussed in Chapter 4 may lend cachet to the incomplete, but ruinous vestiges usually require some restoration to be appreciated. Reconstructing a henge monument, a stretch of Hadrian's Wall, an Iron Age fort to their original wholeness, a British observer suggests, might restore 'some of our great sites to something of their ancient glory'.38

Some reconstituted relics displace the present along with the past. In Old Jerome, an early twentieth-century Arizona mining town, tourist promoters envisage restoration as total replacement. 'I can see the old awnings going back on the shops, like in the 1900s', predicts a developer; 'I can see the old streetlights coming back. I can see where when you step into Jerome you'll be stepping into the true past.'39 Old Jerome turns Finney's Time and Again from science fiction into reality.

The true past eludes recapture, however. Consider Rouen Cathedral, whose sixteenth century timber spire gave way in 1822 to a cast-iron replacement unable to bear its own weight. A new spire is now needed. Should it honour the original or the historical continuity embodied in the fraud of a non-weightbearing load? Faithfulness to the original structure would deprive the cathedral of history's additions; faithfulness to continuity would deprive it of functional and legible unity.40 Or consider the church of Saint-Sernin, Toulouse, whose neo-Romanesque restoration by Viollet-le-Duc is now adjudged 'technically bad and aesthetically mediocre'. Should the church be left as it is, with all its inferior additions? Or should it be re-restored to a conjectural original state, as Viollet himself might have done?41 And where does obeisance to continuity end? If nineteenth-century alterations are sacrosanct, why not late twentieth-century embellishments? If everything that has happened to a relic is sanctified as part of its history, no criteria remain to identify, let alone to celebrate, its past.


Relics are profoundly altered by being moved away from - or back to - their place of origin. Removal subsumes a wide range of actions: antiquities as small as a nail or as large as a temple may be shifted a few inches or halfway round the world, transported entire or reassembled, broken up into segments or reunited from separate fragments. Some artifacts - books, paintings, bronzes, medals - were made to be portable; others, whose
Changing the past 283
meaning and value derive from and enliven their surroundings, are displaced with grave loss. Some artifacts are moved because everything cognate around them has changed; others, previously uprooted by war, theft, or accident, may be returned to former locales. Some relics are dispersed from centres of origin or collection, others brought together from scattered sites.

The practice of concentrating antiquities is prefigured in late Renaissance paintings that depict far-flung classical monuments in close proximity, often embellished with imaginary mutilations or restorations. One artist set the Laocoon in front of a broken wall to suggest the moment it was unearthed; another grouped relics amid antique temples by the shores of Troy.42 The idealized ancient city in Jean Lemaire's Roman Senators Going to the Forum is a patchwork of well-known ruins - the Triumphal Arch at Orange, Verona's Town Gate, the Pantheon portico, the Septizoneum, the Colosseum. A real sixteenth-century vestige and a fictitiously ruined Mannerist statue stand alongside the authentic Constantinian Arco di Gione in Jan Baptist Weenix's Roman Campagna.43

The taste for ruins encouraged eighteenth-century painters to group ancient monuments as decorative accessories; rearranged classical sculptures and Roman ruins fill the backgrounds of Pompeo Batoni's portraits of British worthies on the Grand Tour, and the French ambassador in Rome commissioned from Giovanni Panini an imaginary picture gallery stocked with the scenic treasures of ancient Rome.44 Like a family portrait or a mantel full of snapshots that gather one's dear ones together, such pictures let the lover of antiquity gaze on all his favourite monuments at once. National pride likewise concentrated historical images. To enhance the effect of 'several of the monuments characteristic of the past history of our country, and which will soon cease to exist', the Irish painter George Petrie's Pilgrims at Clanmacnoise depicted a round tower, a Celtic cross, and a half-ruined Hibernian Romanesque church in contrived juxtaposition.45 Modern collages display historic houses of many epochs cheek by jowl, as though they existed door-to-door on the same street.

The Victoria and Albert Museum's Cast Court juxtaposes full-scale copies of architectural relics, including Trajan's Column cut into two lengths for easier viewing, and a Romanesque medley of the San Zemo doors inserted into the Portico della Gloria from Santiago de Compostela.46 And at Austria's 'Minimundus' the models of the Tower of London and the Arc de Triomphe lie on opposite sides of Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.47

Changing the past 285

Actual antiquities are likewise brought into closer proximity. Most 'historic' American villages include imported structures: Portsmouth's Strawbery Banke incorporates many buildings brought in from remote or imperilled locales; Mystic Seaport's buildings come from all over New England; Old Sturbridge Village as an entity dates only from 1929, when several dozen old structures were brought together.48 Singleton Village in Sussex comprises fourteenth- to nineteenth-century buildings from the whole of southeast England. On their new sites some of these old buildings acquire a past bizarrely at odds with historical reality. For example, Henry Ford grouped Greenfield Village's log structures, a slave-overseer's cabin next to Abraham Lincoln's Logan County Courthouse next to the George Washington Carver Memorial Cabin, to illustrate the march from slavery to freedom to black genius.49

Removal has become a major mode of historical salvage. The same technology that nowadays menaces relics of the past can move the most massive antiquities out of danger. Modern engineering made it possible to cut and lift the Abu Simbel temples from Philae to Agilka, and some find the temples more impressive on the bare rock than in their former palm-tree setting.50 Less congruous is London Bridge, re-erected in the Arizona desert along with lamps cast from Napoleon's cannon and an imitation City of London pub. Arizona's most popular site after the Grand Canyon, the salvaged bridge attracts two million visitors a year, but the sense of context and even of age are gone, London's sooty patina having peeled off in the dry desert air.51

For many relics export is the only alternative to terminal decay or demolition. From a warehouse in Texas, the stained-glass ceiling of the Fulham Free Library, the copperleaded portals of the former Bank of India, and the brass doors of the Cafe Royal are auctioned to restaurants whose New World patrons crave an Olde English ambience. Liverpool Stock Exchange fittings decorate a Beverly Hills restaurant; bits of the Morecambe pier adorn a Las Vegas casino; a Middlesbrough convent has become a Kansas City eatery.52 Britain also exports the oak beams of rural structures dating back to the fifteenth century - historically documented, pest-free, and guaranteed to last another five centuries. 'We are preserving these buildings for mankind . . . rather than letting them deteriorate and vanish', maintains the agent, 'salvaging those buildings which are just not being cared for'. American appetites are such that one architect predicts 'you would have to tear down all of Tudor and Stuart England to meet the demand'.53 Neo-Gothic and neo-Renaissance French chateaux otherwise scheduled for destruction are likewise dis-
286 Changing the past
mantled and shipped abroad; some buyers faithfully restore these castles, others reshuffle their stones like Lego bricks.54

Several benefits accrue from moving remnants of the past. First, relics are saved which would otherwise be lost. Second, concentrating antiquities often makes them more accessible and meaningful, especially if only small fragments remained on the original sites. Third, the removal of relics may benefit the locales they come from: moving Martha's Vineyard's oldest house out of its rural setting leaves an almost primeval solitude in a landscape now devoid of artifacts, 'a greater presence than before'.55 Fourth, transplanted relics confer talismanic virtues on their new homes. Fragments from ancient structures the world over give the Chicago Tribune building a composite historical aura. The Washington Monument gains vicarious antiquity from memorial stones that include a 2,000-year-old bust from the Temple of Augustus in Egypt, a stone from a Swiss chapel honouring William Tell, and a piece from the 'Temple of Aesculapius' in Paros.56 People not only expect but like much of the tangible past to be manipulated in this way, so long as personal or local attachments are not jeopardized. Four out of every five Toronto residents recently questioned preferred to see historical and archaeological relics in museums or in other public arenas (such as shopping centres) rather than in situ.57

Yet such removals also exact a toll. Transport hazards seriously inhibit sending precious relics on tour, and if disassembled, lack of space or money or planning permission may prevent or delay their reconstitution. Financial or site constraints may impoverish antiquities during the process of rebuilding, as Illinois' early eighteenth century Cahokia Courthouse well illustrates. After a varied career as a private home and a saloon, the much-deteriorated courthouse was reconstructed for the St Louis World's Fair of 1904 with its four original rooms reduced to one (the left-over walnut timbers were turned into souvenir cigar boxes). Again dismantled and reassembled at Jackson Park, Chicago, the courthouse was now bereft of its fireplace, its roof-lines and windows altered, the logs mispositioned. A generation later Cahokians agitated for the courthouse's return, and the surviving remnants, fleshed out to the original size with replica materials, were re-erected in southern Illinois in 1940.58

Aesthetic integrity is another victim of fragmentation and dispersal. Antiquities are dismembered for ease of transport or, like the huge Tiepolo Madonna taken to France by Napoleon, sawn in two to suit a later taste. Prudery pruned a Poussin Venus, her immodest legs cut off by a French nobleman; avarice led to the dismemberment of two Toulouse-Lautrec canvases. Once disjoined, each piece embarks on its own career; the fragments of a once- harmonious Sienese altarpiece are now scattered in Berlin, Dublin,
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Paris, Glasgow, Toledo, Ohio, and Williamstown, Massachusetts.59 A 1968 exhibition temporarily reunited a Veneziano polyptych in the Louvre with fragments in Ajaccio and Toulouse, and the halves of a Persian carpet originally commissioned but found too large for the altar steps at Cracow Cathedral.60

Not every dispersal is to be condemned, nor do all dismembered relics deserve reconstitution. Transplantation may infuse a work with new life, lending it decorative or iconographic value. Putting icon screens back in Russian churches would sacrifice their aesthetic impact for the sake of trivial historical authenticity: replaced in its original location in the Kremlin Cathedral of the Annunciation, an exquisite painting of Theophanes the Greek became discernable only through binoculars.61 A niche showing books and other objects in trompe l'oeil cut out of a panel of the Aix Annunciation in the eighteenth century subsequently passed for the first French still life; 'the very fact that it had been mutilated was responsible for its reputation amongst scholars and art-lovers'.62 Along with disputes over ownership, the varying environmental fortunes of dismembered fragments may preclude amalgamation; damaged by clumsy restoration, the fragment of Poussin's Venus and the Liberal Arts at Dulwich would mar rather than enhance the main canvas in the Louvre, which in any case would still lack important missing pieces.63

Fragmentation also affects collections meant to be integral; the dispersal of an artist's oeuvre may dismember the past no less than the division of a single work. Inherited by two different families, half of the Flemish painter Justus of Ghent's twenty- eight portraits of Famous Men are now in Urban, the rest in the Louvre.64 So with the dispersal of furnishings specifically designed for particular houses. 'Separated from each other, out of context, they lose two-thirds of their meaning', one critic termed the selling off of baroque furniture commissioned in the eighteenth century for St. Giles' House, Dorset. Family portraits handsome and meaningful on their own walls likewise lose value when dispersed: 'considered on its own merits, each piece becomes at best a pleasing if slightly boring conventional portrait'. Smaller antiquities long gathered together also accrue value as an ensemble. The recent breakup of the great collection of Greek vases assembled at Castle Ashby in the 1820s was held to blot out 'part of the collective memory of a nation':65 the nation referred to was not Greece but Britain, the memory not of the vases themselves but of the early nineteenth-century passion for collecting them.

Perhaps the most grievous effect of dispersing antiquities is the loss of environmental context. The removal of relics whose lineaments are indissolubly of their place annuls their testamentary worth and forfeits their myriad ties with place. The whole value of many antiquities inheres in their locale; the landmark must stay put if it is to mark the land. 'It's a dreadful thing to do', says Lucy Boston's Green Knowe child when the local Standing
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Stones are carted off to a museum. 'They were in their own place. Out of it they will be dead. '66 Some movers of antiquities go to heroic lengths to retain the context of locale, as Henry Ford did with Edison's famous laboratory at Greenfield Village:

Before he moved the [Menlo Park] laboratory here, he went out to New Jersey - the land where the building was originally - and dug up tons of dirt, just tons of it. Then he had it all carted out here and dumped it all over this site before they stuck the building down on top of it. That was his idea of complete restoration. This place had been built on New Jersey soil, so it should be restored on New Jersey soil. Stuff like that drove the experts crazy.67

Moving reminders of the past has vital consequences, above all, for national and cultural identity. Removal becomes desecration if a national symbol is at stake. When P. T. Barnum bid for Shakespeare's birthplace, The Times envisaged his 'taking it from its foundations and trundling it about on wheels like a caravan of wild beasts, giants, or dwarfs'.68 Removing the Assurian statues of winged beasts from Nimrod's palace seemed to A. H. Layard himself almost an act of sacrilege: 'They were better suited to the desolation around them for they had guarded the palace in its glory, and it was for them to watch over it in its ruin.'69 Lord Elgin's dismemberment of the Parthenon may have spared the marbles some further mishaps but impoverishes the temple and deprives the Greek nation of its supreme symbol of identity. But the crusade for the restitution of lost heritage is a topic that warrants a book in itself.


We refashion antiquities most radically, sometimes altering them beyond recognition, in adapting them to present-day purposes. But without adaptive reuse most old artifacts would soon perish. Had the Parthenon not served variously as a mosque, a harem, even as a powder magazine, it would have succumbed to plunder and decay. Prolonged survival usually requires subsequent uses utterly unlike the original one, for things normally become less and less suited to initial uses themselves often extinguished by time. Later technology made obsolete the defence of the realm at the Tower of London; Christian worship cannot now alone sustain the fabric of Canterbury Cathedral; most eighteenth century jails no longer serve as prisons nor workhouses as indigent abodes, not merely because they have decayed but because convicts and the poor are now differently defined and treated. Few old dwellings are habitable without alteration; current standards of comfort, social life, safety, and decor are bound to violate inherited integrity. While adaptation may protect and even highlight some relic features, modern appliances and furnishings conceal or replace many others.

Adaptive reuse arouses conflicting reactions. New uses for old structures may seem a sacrilege; rather than reconvert redundant Anglican churches, one prominent spokesman prefers them left vacant as reminders of eternal spiritual values.70 At the other extreme,
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American preservationists take special pride in the wide range of functions well-known places have served: Washington's Lafayette Square, for example, for having been successively a cherry orchard, the site of Andrew Jackson's raucous inaugural party, a sheep pasture during the First World War, and now an urban visual amenity.71 Reuse through alteration was the credo of the recent French exhibition 'Hier pour Dernain', showing how old things are adjusted to later needs: 'A heritage is something to be preserved and understood', explained the show's curator, 'but also to be modified to meet the needs of a changing world.'72

The extreme in adaptive reuse involves treasuring relics as museum pieces. Like a 'discarded hubcap . . . launched on a second life as a planter for a nice cactus assortment', in Haas's phrase,73 their workaday function gives way to decorative, pedagogic, or nostalgic uses. A cartoonist envisions the Statue of Liberty redeveloped into luxury fiats whose residents can 'sleep in the splendor of a national monument', with doormen 'dressed in the native costumes of their grandparents'.74

Recycled relics often end in the museum. A sword begins as a warrior's weapon; after his death it may be transformed into a sacred object for ceremonial use; taken as loot it becomes a token of wealth and a souvenir of conquest; ultimately it is found by archaeologists and put on display. But only its previous retention for military, sacred, and treasure purposes enabled the sword to survive to the museum stage, while less valued objects have rusted, rotted, and vanished from view.75

Display need not be antiquities' final use, however, as Rome's rebirth from ancient ruins attests. An unending sequence of reuse characterizes Italo Calvino's 'Clarice', a city whose inhabitants recycle relics at every stage of extinction and of rebirth. When Clarice dies, its survivors grabbed everything that could be taken from where it was and put it in another place to serve a different use: brocade curtains ended up as sheets; in marble funerary urns they planted basil; wrought-iron gratings torn from the harem windows were used for roasting cat meat on fires of inlaid wood.

When Clarice prospers again the reused artifacts are remembered as survivors from an earlier past, and 'the shards of the original splendor that had been saved, by adapting them to more obscure needs, were again shifted. They were now preserved under glass bells, locked in display cases, set on velvet cushions' so that people could reconstruct the previous Clarice in their minds' eye.76 Thus each successive stage reshuffles the fragments of what remains from former uses, sacred or profane, functional or decorative. Heritage appreciation, complains a Canadian geographer, 'has done little more than to turn museums into communities and, what is worse, communities into museums'.77 But as we have seen, these transitions occur all the time, with or without deliberate intent.

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If we need another past so badly, is it inconceivable that we might discover one, that we might even invent one?
Van Wyck Brooks, 'On creating a usable past' 78

We alter the surviving past not only by changing its lineaments but also by adding to them, creating or decorating with bygone themes and images. Some additions replace antiquities too fragile to withstand erosion or attention; others are surrogates for what has been or is likely to be lost; still others transmute past forms or motifs. Whether or not antecedents of new artifacts are recognized and their derivation acknowledged, 'everything made now is either a replica or a variant of something made a little while ago', as George Kubler writes, 'and so on back without break to the first morning of human time'.79

Copying or celebrating relics makes the originals better known and alters our view of them. The visitor to Philadelphia sees Independence Hall through the lens of familiarity with dozens of replicas, the Eiffel Tower through the perspective of innumerable travel posters. Along with original relics, our inheritance includes a congeries of later imitations and commemorations. Thus impressions of the past reflect all subsequent acts of appreciation and derogation, our own included.

The impact of these additions depends on how far they resemble or how close their affinity with the actual relics. Each act that supplements the past - imitation, emulation, reproduction, commemoration - is in some measure distinctive. Imitations and re enactments aim to replicate admired originals fairly faithfully; models and images often deliberately depart from their exemplars; emulations use the past to inspire new creations; monuments and memorials frequently commemorate the past in present-day forms or motifs.


Facsimiles, which aim simply to duplicate admired relics, embrace three distinct types: copies imitate existing or lost originals; forgeries pretend to be the originals; replicas reproduce well- known prototypes in other locales. Few facsimiles correspond with their originals in every detail, but imitation in the narrow modern sense of the word is their principal if not sole aim.

Viewers often fail to realize, even after repeatedly being told, that vanished or threatened relics have been replaced by modern contrivances. Facsimile restorations in the Suffolk town of Sudbury depart significantly from the originals, yet passers-by - including natives long familiar with the original structures and witnesses to their demolition -suppose they are seeing the old facades.80 The restored medieval cores of war-torn Polish cities were so verisimilar that ten years later, according to Warsaw's restoration chief, 'even the elders do not realize in their everyday life that this town, which appears old, is to a great extent new. And they do not feel it to be an artificial creation.'81 But some who are
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aware of it find the replacement uncanny. 'The house I was born in was destroyed violently thirty-six years ago--but I can go into the bedroom I had as a boy, look out of the exact same window at the exact same house across the courtyard', says an architect. 'There's even a lamp bracket with a curious twist in it hanging in the same place. It's unnerving, when you come to think of it. Is it "real" or isn't it?'82

Replacements of antiquities endangered by erosion, pollution, or theft engender similar doubts, especially if the originals are close by. A facsimile of Michelangelo's David has stood outside Florence's Paisleys Vecchio for the past century, with the actual statue in the Accademia; replicas have replaced original elements from French Gothic monasteries installed only fifty years ago at the Cloisters in New York; Venice's ancient bronze horses are kept free from corrosion in a museum, glass-fibre copies taking their place in St Mark's Square. Some predict that protection may soon require all original works to 'be embalmed in some inaccessible stronghold while the public is fed on replicas'.83

Replicas that masquerade as originals pretend to be previously lost or undiscovered relics. The appetite for antiquities has long made forgery a major enterprise. Salvaging ancient beams, the French craftsman Andre Mailfert's workshop produced 50,000 'rare old pieces' of 'antique' furniture during the 1910s and 1920s, together with thousands of fake old master paintings.84 Huge demand spurs the manufacture of 'Valamasters' -photographs of old paintings with brushstrokes hand-applied in a transparent covering glaze, said to resemble the originals so closely that even experts need a second look.85 Sophisticated detection techniques inspire ever more clever forgeries. A fabricator of 'Etruscan' terra-cottas and 'Greek' vases visually indistinguishable from true antiques claims he can even circumvent thermoluminescence tests.86

Fakes of lost originals alter our image of the past by seeming to bring what once existed back to life. Other forgeries add to an artist's supposed oeuvre or augment the output of a past epoch, enlarging the stock of relics within some well-known tradition. In line with the adage that 'a forgery can be distinguished from an original because it looks more genuine',87 forgers aim at verisimilitude; their additions to the past must not appear novel. Yet forgeries reflect as much credit on their exemplars as honest replicas; even when exposed, they are often valued as excellent copies of ancient masterpieces.88

No intent to deceive taints such reproductions as Britain's Palladian villas or copies of America's Independence Hall. And no matter how faithful in form, such replicas inevitably depart from their prototypes in ambience. Nashville's reinforced-concrete Parthenon of the 1920s is a case in point. Like many replicas, it is more complete than the original: plaster casts of the Elgin Marbles, supplemented by sculptures of live models posing as described in Pausanias's Periegesis, supply the east pediment's missing figures. So 'authentic' is their replica, Tennesseeans brag, that the Greeks would have to study the correct details in Nashville in order to rebuild the original. But authenticity ends outside
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the portico. Nashville's Parthenon builders dispensed with the steep rise up to the actual Acropolis because 'it was feared that the effort needed to climb the hill might discourage visitors'; a mere ten-foot mound is meant to give it a 'commanding place'. Yet the replica has made Nashville 'the Athens of the South'.89

Replicas like replacements may be preferred to their prototypes. The nineteenth century English view that 'a happy imitation is of much more value than a defective original' has its twentieth-century counterpart in Walt Disney's boast that Disneyland's 'Vieux Carre' was just like the 1850s original, but 'a lot cleaner'.90 Whether or not they improve on the originals, however, replicas lack their history of felt relationships. 'A child dies, leaving behind a worn, dirty, and much-hugged teddy bear. Would a molecular reproduction, known to be such, have the same value to the parents?' asks a philosopher. Even a replica similarly marked by wear and tear could not replace the original, for it would not be the bear that child had hugged. A replica Grand Canyon in, say, New Jersey, would be still more deficient. 'What we respond to in hiking down the Bright Angel Trail is the way in which the canyon has been whittled, particle by particle, by water and wind: we do not have this experience in the Bayonne Grand Canyon, however, because it was fabricated quite mechanically, all at once'.91 Pace Henry James, ascending worn steps to an ancient cathedral or touching smooth banisters in an old house links visitors with the long history that wore and smoothed them - a history no replica, known as such, could ever convey.

On the other hand, some newly minted reproductions convey historical immediacy better than originals do. 'Although the boy or girl of today may be denied the undoubted thrill of putting on the actual garment of a former age, by means of the substitute it may be possible to recreate the feeling which the first wearer may have felt', writes an educator. 'Who is to say that wearing the copy affords any less of a true historical experience than putting on the original?'92 Some have said so, as we saw in Chapter 5, but the point deserves consideration. The sheer ingenuity of replication can help bring history to life -- as with Knott's Berry Farm's 'Liberty Bell' that was frozen in dry ice and then 'authentically cracked' with a heli-arch torch applied to a built-in fracture line.93 Authenticity in manu- facture matters no less than in the product. Nowell's 'Victorian' fixtures can't be told from the originals because 'we make them one at a time by hand, exactly the way the originals were made, and . . . of exactly the same materials. And we make them well enough to hang right next to period originals without looking out of place. '94 Indeed, the original may seem out of place, for habituation to replicas tends to persuade us that antiquities should look complete and 'new'. The copy may afford an historical experience as 'true' as the original, but it is a different experience.

Reproductions seem inferior to the cognoscenti simply because they are not originals. 'Genuineness' is said to be preferable to 'authenticity' because 'genuineness is the real thing . . . It is solid wood, not plastic veneer . . . It has meaning because it puts us in the presence of what was - the experience of history - not a later impression of what something looked like.' Without genuine bits of the past, 'our sense of values and ability to judge the
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real from the fake is damaged - or worse, never developed'.95 But much as most of us know the Iliad and the Bible only through translation, so our awareness of the tangible past is based mainly on copies, reflections, and subsequent impressions; most people not only cannot tell originals from replicas, they are just as pleased with the latter. The copy reflects 'the past' no less than the original.


Imitations reproduce past artifacts; re-enactments reproduce past events. Some re-enactors simply seek to entertain, some to convince themselves or others of the reality of the past, some to heighten history's revelatory significance, some for a sense of purpose or excitement lacking in the present. Live actors repeat what was supposedly done in the past, and restored or replica houses are staffed with 'replica people' or 'human artifacts'.96 Like restorers, re-enactors start with known elements and fill in the gaps with the typical, the probable, or the invented.

Some re-enactments portray particular episodes and personages, others activities characteristic of the past. Theatrical restaging ranges in scale from school Nativity plays to once-in-a-lifetime spectaculars, like the late Shah of Iran's 3 million, 3,500-man pageant in reconstructed Persepolis to celebrate Cyrus's founding of the Persian Empire 2,500 years before.97

In the United States, re-enactments are a sine qua non of popular participation in history. Scarcely a skirmish of the Revolution went unrepealed during the 1976 bicentennial celebrations. Many battle participants spend large sums on equipment and uniforms, wax fanatical over details of dress down to the contents of their pockets, and designate 'historians' to research battles and troop movements.98 A growing cult of authenticity is said to have driven 'a wedge between the once-a-year "paraders" . . . and the fanatical "button-counters" who make their pants from patterns preserved in the Smithsonian, and who may think nothing of a trip to England to determine the exact shade of blue worn by the Royal Artillery'. These conflicting perspectives may determine who play British or American roles. In 'American' eyes, 'the British units go too far in pursuit of authenticity and chase away the spontaneous fun of it all . . . The British, on the other hand, are often openly contemptuous of the "ragtag colonials"' with makeshift uniforms and harumscarum deployment; in their view, the Americans haven't improved in two centuries. 'They started as a rabble in 1775', sneered a 'British' officer as a 'colorist' sauntered past, 'and now they are authentically portraying a rabble.'99

Re-enactments often slant the past for nationalist aims. But re- enactment also differs from history as it happened simply because unembellished replay would soon pall on participants and spectators alike. Yorktown won't be re-enacted because 'it can't be',
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explained a National Park spokesman. 'You can't reenact a siege. Everybody would get bored and go home.'l00 Impatient with the unadorned past, a drama leader in Lively's Judgement Day wants to enliven a Levellers' Masque by having a militia colonel's wife tearfully recognize a prisoner as her lover. But 'it didn't happen', she is told. 'All right. So it didn't. But it might have done . . . How's anyone to know what happened and what didn't? . . . No way do I rehearse that scene again like it was. It's dull dull dull.'101

Some bicentennial celebrants unabashedly manufactured Revolutionary episodes. Not every eighteenth-century village hosted one of Washington's 'tactical withdrawals', but this was no bar to celebrating; 'You give us the Bicentennial, we'll provide the battle', they said in Queens, New York. 102 Baltimore improved on the past by staging a mythical battle of the War of 1812 in a pageant depicting British soldiers arresting city fathers. 'So what?' retorted Baltimore officials when reminded the event had no historical basis. 'Just because it never happened doesn't detract from it.'103

Patent inaccuracies and unavoidable reductions in scale and scope lead some historians to denounce battle replays as 'a sham put over on the American public', a demeaning mockery of the past. Appalled that people would 'seek enjoyment out of what was literally a human tragedy', the National Park Service finally called a halt to all battle re-enactment. 104

The replay of prototypical events -- the hourly shooting of a desperado at Old Fort Dodge, the ritual confrontation of militiamen and Redcoat at Old North Bridge, Confederate infantrymen at Stones River Battlefield talking about their wartime experiences -- add drama to the everyday past and play a major role at outdoor museums. Visitors at Olde Illinois see a cooper making a barrel for salt pork, watch a woman hanging out a pumpkin rind to dry, smell the odour of boiling sorghum - all activities 'typical of the nineteenth century, yet you are experiencing them today!' exclaims an interpreter.l05 So real seems this dramatic past that visitors hesitate to enter 'Lincoln's log cabin' while a 'period meal' is being eaten.l06 But re-enactment often ends there. Period-garbed coopers and blacksmiths explain what they are doing and why, but their speech and know-how are mostly modern; in conveying up-to-date facts about the past, they preclude intimacy with it.

By contrast, 'character imposters' at Plymouth Plantation dress and act their parts, answering questions in the dialect and with the perspectives of 'Elder' Brewster and other specified folk of 1627. 'Every effort is made to portray an accurate picture of seventeenth century life - from outward appearances to innermost beliefs and attitudes', expounds the brochure. 'Busy as they are, the villagers are always eager for conversation . . . You are invited to explore their community, to ask about their lives, ... to examine their possessions, habits and values.'107 Unlike a modern community, the past is a world into which time travellers may pry without embarrassment or fear of rebuff.

298 Changing the past

Animated re-enactment of the Plymouth type expanded in the late 1970s, after marketing surveys showed that activities attract more people than do artifacts.' ' Yet tourists often seem reluctant to 'share a riddle, a joke, a bit of gossip' with these 'warm, friendly folk'; beyond technical questions about household skills, crops, and beverages, most moderns seem at a loss.108 The press of numbers also inhibits a sense of the past: it is hard to suspend disbelief about the seventeenth century with hundreds of other twentieth-century folk milling about.

As with battle replays, verisimilitude can be overdone. True-to- eighteenth-century militiamen at Canada's restored Louisbourg Fortress offended tourists with their rumpled uniforms and rude ways; even when told that the 'militiamen' were slovenly and demoralized because that was how they had been, back then, visitors were ill at ease, as they were with ticket collectors posing as 'syphilitic whores'. In the end Louisbourg abandoned realistic animation altogether.'109

Participation enhances the re-enacted everyday past: while horse-shoeing, grain-grinding, glass-blowing are usually confined to experts, visitors sometimes till the soil and do cooking, dairy work, spinning and weaving. A Maine farm re-creating 1870s' life conveys the sense of the past through its privations; in the icy mid-winter visiting children 'go to the outhouse, and it's icy. Those kids were feeling history right in the seat of their pants.'110 To feel 'what it was like to wear medieval dress and serve at a medieval table', costumed children at Derby Museum prepare a 'typical' medieval green stew (eggs and cheese stained green with parsley) for dinner at a trestle table furnished with trenchers, replica medieval pottery, and horn beakers.'111

The re-enactment of bygone daily life is especially popular in America, where the common man's past excites keen interest and yesteryear is traditionally seen in theatrical guise; some eight hundred outdoor museums regularly present living history programmes.112 The British have more doubts about all this. Guides in period dress seem superfluous where real history is so plentiful, and National Trust members are said even to feel 'above' guided tours.113 The Duke of Bedford, whose Woburn Abbey is one of England's most popular historical sites, derided the idea of historic-house owners having to 'sit around all day creaking in armour with swords dripping in blood or in wigs and crinolines armed with smoking warming pans; . . . Sir Francis Dashwood would draw vast
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crowds' by re-enacting his eighteenth-century forebear's orgies at Hell Fire Caves, but Bedford doubted that modern High Wycombe could supply enough virgins to meet the demand. 114 Avoidance of historical simulation is carried to such a length that interpreters at British farm museums don white laboratory coats to harrow their fields. Compared with the spirited presentations that make the American past come alive, much of the British historical experience is felt to be locked up in glass cases, and 'history on the Continent is dead; beautifully embalmed, but dead'.115

An American study of interpretation at Tatton Park, Cheshire, one of the British National Trust's most popular historic houses, underscores these differences. The U.S. National Park Service felt that Tatton Park's attendants behaved more like guards than interpreters; instead, costumed butlers and ladies' maids should demonstrate and talk about their duties. The kitchen needed a 'worked-in' look; the meat model should be 'a more realistic replica, or, on occasion, the real thing'. Guides should eschew dates and facts to focus on 'the humanness of the participants in Tatton's evolutionary story', the 'common humanity shared by today's visitor and Tatton's medieval residents'. An 'authentic medieval house' in the village should be peopled by a hypothetical peasant family (mother, father, children, livestock). These suggestions and a self-guided medieval village trail have proved highly popular.116

American-style animation has increased elsewhere in Britain, too. Re-enactments at Blickling Hall, Norfolk, feature the Earl of Buckinghamshire in eighteenth-century costume; other National Trust houses theatrically transport schoolchildren back to Tudor days; Kentwell Hall, Suffolk, re-creates a particular seventeenth-century year each summer. The Civil War Society advertises historical re- enactments; the Jousting Association runs a Knights Training School and supplies historic houses with medieval entertainment; the Practical History Society involves entire communities in re- creating the past. '117

In fact, Britain has a long tradition of fanciful re-enactment. In Elizabethan times allegories of the Faerie Queene were acted in mock-fortified castles like Bolsover, and mock-medieval battles were waged alongside the real war against Spain. The mid nineteenth- century saw the spectacular medieval tournament at Eglinton, the Buckingham Palace masked ball to which Victorians came as their Elizabethan counterparts, and
300 Changing the past
the expansion of the knighthood from 350 at the start of Victoria's reign to nearly 2,000 at the end.118

Besides recalling the past, re-enactments may help confirm or deny hypotheses about it. In the Butser Iron Age Farm reconstruction, at Lejre in Denmark, and elsewhere, as with Thor Heyerdahl's Kon- Tiki, work with replicated tools and bred-back livestock test archaeologists' surmises about the past.119 But a recent year-long attempt, by a dozen volunteers chosen from several hundred applicants, to 'relive' the Iron Age in southwest England, showed modern circumstances and expectations incompatible with Iron Age life to be insurmountable obstacles. Unlike today's counterparts, Iron Age farmers did not have to contend with rats, nor did they suffer cloistered isolation; on the other hand, re-enactors insisted on certain modern comforts -- pen and paper, tampax, contraceptives, antibiotics -- and argued endlessly whether it was authentic or anachronistic to use an old ploughshare as a pot holder, or a piece of glass as a mirror.120 Visitors who 'go back' to 1870s' Maine are warned that 'you won't take a shower for three days, you'll sleep on a cornhusk mattress in the dead of winter . . . This is real' - but historical reality yields to such concessions as 'window screens in summer and toilet paper year round'.121

Re-enactment differs from enactment above all in that actors and audiences, like historians, know the future of the past portrayed. In English Civil War replays Cromwell looks smug and Charles I glum because they know the outcome all too well. 122 To eliminate hindsight some re-enactors aim to convert the past into a present with outcomes still unresolved; American Revolutionary fanatics 'are already planning and engaging in the next logical step--18th-century war games, where British and American units can test their mettle in combat situations without foreordained conclusions'.123

Re-enactments are patent anachronisms. But they do not always seem anachronistic; some actors become so involved in bygone events that they feel as though they are really living them. In making a film about the Napoleonic Wars those who portrayed officers and soldiers were paid at the same rate, but after a few days 'the officers of this celluloid army began to eat at a separate table from the mere privates and NCOs', Le Roy Ladurie reports; 'later on, an actual partition was put up to divide the "officers' mess" from the vulgum pecus'. As a World War II Re- enactment Society 'paratrooper' put it, 'You've got to
Changing the past 301
be pretty stable not to get re-enacting and real life confused.'124 In battle re-enactments, such 'time warps' can be really dangerous. 'Participants sometimes lose sight of the fact that it is all in play, and feel the same emotions their ancestors felt on the spot', writes Tim Clark; 1961 re-enactors of the Civil War Battle of Manassas (Bull Run) ended up clubbing each other with rifle butts.'125

The time warp is not confined to participants; spectators too get carried away by simulated history, viciously assaulting 'British' soldiers at American Revolutionary replays. 'We went down to Faneuil Hall in Boston', said one 'British' soldier, 'and we could have been wearing Nazi uniforms, for the reaction--there was the same feeling of hatred as 200 years ago.' During a 1979 'tarring- and-feathering' at Penobscot Bay, 'militiamen' had to protect a 'British sympathizer' from onlookers who 'wanted to get in there and tear and grab and hurt people'.126 Watching his children re-enact a hanging, a father lost some of his enthusiasm for the seventeenth century. 'Sometimes I'm afraid', he said, 'they take authenticity too far.'127

Re-enactments enliven history for millions who turn a blind or bored eye on ancient monuments, not to mention history books. But they risk turning venerable places into jokey or self-conscious replicas of themselves, or worse, persuading participants and even spectators that one can escape to the past. The pageantry of re-enactment transports today's locales into a fictitious yesterday purged of historical guilt, where people act out fantasies denied them in the contemporary world. 128


Relics of the past are profoundly affected by being copied and depicted. Like duplicates, copies celebrate or call to mind aspects of the past; unlike duplicates, they aim at no strict fidelity to their models, and often intentionally depart from them in scale, materials, dimension, or form. Unlike emulations, however, copies mainly follow and reflect the past. Both their resemblances to and their differences from their models affect our perception of the originals.

The present pejorative meaning of 'copy' is of relatively recent origin. During antiquity, copying was not distinguished from creative innovation; all works of art and architecture
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were viewed as copies taken from nature or from the human form. In late-Roman and Hellenistic times, collectors valued works of art for their beauty, rarity, and antiquity, and identified as 'masterpieces' works then reproduced by copyists. Throughout the Middle Ages, artists and craftsmen copied their own masters and other prototypes with no notion that originality was desirable.129

Self-conscious reproduction became a hallmark of humanist historical awareness. Architects and sculptors copied great works of antiquity (or more often their Hellenistic copies) and artists copied each other. Although the Romantic stress on original creativity gave the word a bad name, painters continued to learn from and reinterpret their predecessors by assiduously copying them. In sculpture, plaster casts of antique works established a canonical set of much-copied masterpieces -- the Laocoon, Farnese Hercules, Apollo Belvedere, Vatican Cleopatra, Venus de' Medici, the Nile, the bronze equestrian Marcus Aurelius, Alexander and Bucephalus, and reliefs on the triumphal arches and on the Trajan and Antonine columns.130 In architecture, copying extended beyond classical structures to Palladian and other derivatives and eventually to Gothic prototypes in revivals that long dominated the built environment of the Western world.

Most connoisseurs became familiar with great works of the past only through copies, for private sequestration and difficulty of travel curtailed access to the originals. Up to the late nineteenth century, most antiquities were beyond the ken of all but a few, and acquaintance with admired relics was confined to reproductions and written descriptions. Only in our day has familiarity with originals become at all common, and thanks to advances in printing, metallurgy, paper-making, and photography, copies scarcely distinguishable from the originals are widely available.131

Full-scale plaster casts of antique sculptures in Italian papal and ducal collections were first made in the sixteenth century, and seventeenth-century French monarchs, notably Louis XIV, were their earliest assiduous collectors. Visiting Paris in 1665, Bernini stressed the importance of antique casts for the study of art and spurred the taking of moulds in Rome. In eighteenth-century England, antique casts and copies dominated the Adam rooms at Syon House, and Holkham, Kedleston, and Croome displayed substantial collections. Even American contempt for slavish devotion to the past did not preclude their acquisition of cast copies. 132

Plaster was not the only material in which marble relics were copied. Bronze reproductions, ceramic statuettes, and lead copies of sculptures vied in popularity with plaster casts. Such was the mania for reproductions of canonical antiques that Woburn Abbey once housed sixteen marble copies of the Medici Vase, also copied in cast iron at Alton Towers; the Dying Gladiator appeared in stone at Rousham, in marble at Wilton, in bronze at Syon; the Apollo Belvedere in parian ware reached thousands of English homes in the 1860s.133 Nowadays vernacular relics, too, are copied in exotic materials.

Many such copies are miniatures. Porcelain replicas and Staffordshire earthenware figurines date from the mid eighteenth century; Italian firms churned out small bronze
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copies of antique sculpture, and statues and temples in Tuscan alabaster.134 Wedgwood's mass-produced antique cameos and intaglios derived from the 'mechanic skill' praised by Samuel Rogers:

Be mine to bless the more mechanic skill, That stamps, renews, and multiplies at will; And cheaply circulates, thro' distant climes, The fairest relics of the purest times. 135

But nineteenth-century plaster-cast makers, marble workshops, and bronze foundries relied more and more on machine reductions, and as their replicas multiplied the quality of their work declined. 136

Copies also miniaturize architectural relics. Many historical models are three-fifths the original size, large enough to seem like real buildings yet small enough to feel quaint. Some locales that echo the past give the impression of being miniatures even when they are not: at Norman Shaw's 'seventeenth-century' Bedford Park village, Yeats felt 'we were living among toys', much as today's visitor feels large and gawky amid the cosy neatness of the reconstructed past.137 Other replicas are little larger than dolls' houses: at Thorpe Park near London, the Uffington White Horse in concrete is one-fifth size, and the Taj Mahal, the Temple of Artemis, the Great Pyramid, Bodiam Castle only 5 to 10 feet high, surrounded by life-size flowers that accentuate the reduction.

Many historic miniatures make their impact as souvenirs. Anne Hathaway's cottage adorns millions of mantels and appends innumerable key rings. 'Limited-edition' replicas vaunt their authenticity: Bruce McCall's 'miniature pewterine reproductions, authenticated by the World Court at The Hague, of the front-door letter slots of Hollywood's 36 most beloved character actors and actresses' catches their bizarre mixture of precision and triviality, as do his 'Ornamental Handles of Walking Canes of the Hohenzollern Princelings' made during 'the equivalent of three centuries of painstaking historical research', and his 'Great Cookie Jars of the Restoration, just as Congreve the boy must have pilfered from . . . so authentic that you can actually smell them with your nose'. 138

Pictorial likenesses transform perceptions of relics still more radically, especially since printing made images on paper ubiquitous. Prints of famous classical sculpture were disseminated soon after 1500; an illustrated inventory of Roman antique statues was published in 1556; Bernard de Montfaucon's catalogue of 1719 contained over thirty thousand images of ancient art; from 1762 on, the sketches of Stuart and Revett made Greek antiquities increasingly familiar.139 Ease and fidelity of pictorial reproduction increasingly favours the visual apprehension of history; even when we read about the past we now envisage it pictorially.

Moreover, surrogates like miniatures are less burdensome than full-scale vestiges. The
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Somerset town of Taunton gladly shed many of its older buildings in the 1950s and 1960s; postcards and tea towels portraying these banished landmarks soon afterwards became locally popular.140 When still extant these structures were sad reminders of a scruffy and impoverished past; only when the actual relics were gone could their images be appreciated.

Many prefer Disneyland's 'historic' facsimiles precisely because they are copies, not demanding the solemn awe felt to be due to the originals.141 Affection for images of the past may reflect our distance from their prototypes. Old photos substitute for ancestors estranged by the erosion of family coherence, suggests Hirsch; the pictures of these tanned peasants or careworn peddlers bespeak our remoteness from them, not our intimacy with them. 142

Changing skills and tastes can make copies more valuable than originals. Renaissance sculpture surpasses its debased Hellenistic exemplars, which now come alive only through copies of them that clear away inferior accretions. 'Looking at a terra cotta by Maderno, a bronze by Susini, or a drawing by Batoni', write Haskell and Penny, 'we may sense the compelling power ... the sculptures which these artists were reproducing ... once held.' 143

Whether or not copies improve on relics, familiarity with copies shapes how the originals are subsequently seen: reactions to antiquities are mainly predetermined by reproductions. Until recently, their effect was thought beneficial; multiplying copies of ancient masterpieces would 'most effectually prevent the Return of Ignorant and barbarous Ages', wrote Josiah Wedgwood - though he was, to be sure, addressing potential customers. Copies diffused good taste, instructed the public eye, and improved the arts while enhancing the prototype, Wedgwood went on, 'for the more Copies there are of any Works, as of the Venus Medicis for instance, the more celebrated the Original will be . . . Everybody wishes to see the Original of a beautiful Copy.144

In fact, the Venus de' Medici's reputation began seriously to decline just as she was most multiplied. The prestige of ancient masterpieces rested partly on their scarcity and inaccessibility; over-exposure dimmed their canonical excellence and turned the touchstones into cliches.145 Mass replication tarnishes a relic's reputation; the image of Shakespeare is simply demeaned, a visitor to Stratford complained, when one is made to eat an omelette off a likeness of the Bard's face or to stub out a cigarette on it. 146

While reproduction has stimulated public interest in original relics, it has also debased them. Viewers throng to the Mona Lisa, as they goggle at movie stars, largely because they
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have so often seen its likeness; they admire it because they recognize its fame. 'Oh my, it was beautiful', exclaimed a recent viewer at the Louvre. 'It was just like all those copies I've seen.'147 As famous originals become pop symbols they shed historical significance. Antique costumes remind viewers not of historical figures but of the entertainers who portrayed them. A guide book identifies the sixteenth-century Duke of Norfolk entombed in Framlingham church, Suffolk, as having 'figured prominently in the TV series, The Six Wives of Henry VIII'. 148 Relics become simulacra of their modern representations, like Harold Bloom's anxious poets reversing the direction of influence between forerunner and successor.

Depictions of ancient artifacts often detract from subsequent impressions of the originals; the anticipatory viewer may be thrilled to recognize a relic but is deprived of a fresh unmediated experience. And because photographs screen out the banal or the irrelevant and show ancient monuments at awe-inspiring angles, they arouse expectations that reality often disappoints. They so accustom us to the solemn majesty of the Parthenon's west front, the splendid columns of Persepolis, that the visitor finds it 'a shock to see that these are isolated survivors arising out of something like a builder's yard'. The antiquities seen by a sampling of British tourists elicited such responses as 'It was much smaller than I expected', 'It was all broken up - I couldn't make head or tail of it', 'It was sort of scruffy.'149 Just as live performances sound thin to ears jaded by souped-up recordings, so have ultra-glossy reproductions in art books corrupted the public eye; as faces cloud over with disappointment on seeing the original paintings, viewers wonder 'Where were those gorgeous coach-work colors?'150

The liberties taken in modern duplication and revision further diminish old masterpieces. Originally seen as a prototype of naturalistic realism, the Mona Lisa came in the nineteenth century to stand for enigmatic seduction; twentieth-century copies have made it such common coin that, in Harold Rosenberg's phrase, it seems more like Aunt Jemima than a great painting.151 The beard and moustache added to the original in Marcel Duchamp's L.H.O.O.Q. (1919) have themselves become prototypes of satirical and commercial manipulation.152

Artists and photographers alter perspectives on the past by adorning historical events with anachronistic symbols. Emmanuel Leutze's Washington Crossing the Delaware (1851) elevated a minor episode of the American Revolution to a mythic event, and new additions and legends continually alter the historical message of Custer's Last Stand, the most
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reproduced event in American history.153 Archibald Willard's Spirit of '76 (originally Yankee Doodle), first made familiar by chromolithographs in every photographer's studio, changes meaning with every national crisis. Deliberately staged parallels with Willard's figures made the Iwo Jima flag scene an icon of American fortitude in the Second World War, and during the bicentennial the Spirit of '76 shed lustre on Budget-Rent-a-Car, Sesame Street, the American Chiropractic Association, Kentucky Fried Chicken and, not least, Disneyland.154 Down Main Street, U.S.A., in the heart of Disney World, came 'America on Parade', and there, 'at the head of the parade, bearing drum and fife . . . and patched with bandages, stand the three symbols of the American Revolution: Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, and Goofy'.155

Copies of the past thus take on careers of their own, often submerging their prototypes in the service of subsequent demands.


Many additions to surviving relics are free, even fanciful, re-adaptation. But it is in self-conscious period revivals -- respectful yet creative reworkings of earlier forms and styles -- that the past manifests its most pervasive influence.

Such revivals transcend mere copying. Even structures inspired solely by obeisance to an exemplar are bound to reflect their own time; the most faithful followers exhibit modern departures. 'Artists should never be afraid of their work appearing derivative and unoriginal, for whatever they produce inevitably retains the flavour of their [own] epoch.156 Fidelity to history did not prevent Victorians from gilding Greek or Gothic with nineteenth- century gold, and cultural nostalgia and liturgical reaction yielded 'medieval' architecture that was manifestly mid nineteenth- century. 'Under the guise of "revival"', remarks Nicholas Taylor of the nostalgic utopias of Pugin, Ruskin, and Morris, 'their authors were in fact being highly original and inventive.'157

Yet revivals expand perspectives of the emulated epoch too. Indeed, artifacts later inspired by past exemplars loom larger in the present landscape than do its original relics. Not only are emulations more numerous than surviving originals, but many a past now survives only or mainly in subsequent refractions of it: awareness of all but the most recent past derives less from its own remains than from subsequent copies and emulations. Our image of 'classical', for example, depends far less on actual Greek and Roman survivals than on Hellenistic and later evocations. And present-day notions of Gothic owe less to scanty medieval remains than to subsequent additions that reflect and rework Gothic style or spirit. Elizabethan and Jacobean nostalgia led to neo-medieval chivalry and the battlements and keeps, vaulted halls and ogee- arched fireplaces of
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houses only symbolically Gothic; the decorative fortifications of eighteenth-century Gothic suited the gunpowder age, not the days of pikes; the prototype fairy-tale castle that today denotes 'Gothic'- central keep and rectangular ramparts with four corner turrets -is a picturesque amalgam of Palladian planning with a 'medieval' silhouette. 158 But 'Gothic may lose all those features by which we know it', as a Victorian architect remarked, 'and yet for our purposes be Gothic in the truest sense after all';159 indeed, neo-Gothic changed the letter so as to keep the spirit. Unlike medieval Gothic as such revivals were, they are now more Gothic than anything else. Medieval ruins, Tudor castles, Romantic Gothic follies, ecclesiological and municipal Gothic, and the battlements of the Salvation Army comprise a composite Gothic landscape that most viewers would find hard to disaggregate. Few admirers of the classical can tell Roman from Grecian, let alone Hellenistic; revivals are commonly mistaken for survivals. The passage of time dissolves distinctions between originals and emulations, and augments their confluence.

Purists often censure this commingling of derivates with originals. Harrow's Conservation Area planners caution potential developers against designing in an 'historical' style, as such buildings would 'devalue the merits of the existing genuine buildings'.160 Neo-Georgian is disowned by The Georgian Group, lest the offspring's excesses diminish the parent's prestige.161 But for most people such adaptations merge quite companionably with original prototypes and with other derivatives. Only a quarter of those surveyed in Guildford made any distinction between original and derivative architecture.l62 Preservationists in Metroland fight as hard to save Edwardian half-timbering and thatched roofs as they do any surviving originals, and 1930s mock-Tudor has begun to take on the sacred aura of the long-ago look it sought to copy. 163

Copies and revivals often have commemorative intents or consequences. Reminders of ancient Greece so enveloped Americans that to 'separate ourselves entirely from the influence of all those memorials', remarked Daniel Webster in the Senate in 1824, we would have to 'withdraw ourselves from this place, and the scenes and objects which here surround us'; urging American recognition of Greek independence, he noted that 'even the edifice in which we assemble, these proportioned columns, this ornamented architecture, all remind us that Greece has existed, and that we, like the rest of mankind, are greatly her debtors'.l64

The eclectic or haphazard commingling of revival styles also reshapes our sense of the broader past, like the 'infernal amalgam [of] quaint gables culled from Art Nouveau; . . . twisted beams and leaded panes of Stockbrokers Tudor', Pont Street Dutch terra-cotta plaques, 'Wimbledon Transitional porch', and vaguely Romanesque red brick garage of Osbert Lancaster's immortal Bypass Variegated, 165 the aggregate of these disparate components redefining the whole architectural heritage.


Monuments and memorials embellish the past by evoking some epoch's splendour, some person's power or genius, some unique event. What most such evocations have in common is being made after the event; they celebrate the past in later guise. And their form and features may in no way resemble what they are expressly built to recall.

Although commemorative emblems often derive from or symbolize antiquity, many memorials simply reflect the iconographic fashions of their own days. Thus effigies loll on their elbows among cherubs, skulls, scythes, twisted columns and similar seventeenth century icons of death and immortality; while the rediscovery of Egypt made pyramids, obelisks, sphinxes, and sarcophagi popular memorial features in the late eighteenth century. 166

Heroes are often memorialized in garb reflecting a retrospective ideal. The Roman toga draped around George Washington in pictures and statues symbolized republican virtues; Pakistan's founding father Jinnah, a fastidious Westerner in dress, is now everywhere depicted in the close-fitting, high-buttoned national shenvani. 167 Like an earlier plea that a
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monument to Washington should bear witness 'to the good taste and judgment of those who erect it', Edward Everett sought a Bunker Hill Monument which would both call to mind the Revolutionary struggle and teach posterity 'that the people of Massachusetts of this generation' had thought of it. 168

Monuments are more numerous and imposing in the Old World than the New, and memorial purposes remain more hortatory. 'Every tacky little fourth-rate declasse European country has monuments all over the place and one cannot turn a corner without banging into an eighteen-foot bronze of Lebrouche Tickling the Chambermaids at Vache while Planning the Battle of Bledsoe, or some such', observes Donald Barthelme. Whereas Americans tend to pile up a few green cannon balls next to a broken-down mortar and forget about it.'169

Until recently, most monuments were exhortations to imitate the virtues they commemorated; they reminded people what to believe and how to behave. Commemoration likewise came to evince a recollective rather than a hortatory purpose in post-Civil War America. The contrast between Lincoln's 'Gettysburg Address' and the subsequent designation of the battlefield exemplifies the change, J. B. Jackson suggests. Lincoln dedicated 'us the living . . . to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced', implying that 'on a specific occasion a contract was entered into, a covenant was made, and the monument is to remind us of that contract; just as it confers a kind of immortality on the dead, it determines our actions in years to come'. After the Civil War, Gettysburg Battlefield became its own monument, the mere designation a sufficient memorial. 'It was no longer a reminder; it no longer told us what to do; it simply explained the battle.'l70

Paralleling this change, Americans commemorated the Civil War in terms less of individual leaders than of all its participants, often erecting statues to a literally unknown soldier. Other memorials increasingly honoured ordinary people and ways of life. Following Daniel Chester French's Minute Man at Concord in 1876 came monuments to prototypical Americans - the anonymous cowboy, newsboy, Gloucester fishermen, even boll weevil.171 Across the Atlantic, the national or collective past had already become worthy of recall, with late eighteenth-century monuments to fallen soldiers prefiguring mass-produced French 'Mariannes' and British 'Tommys'.l72 And we increasingly commemorate, just as we restore and re-enact, not to follow a past example but simply to recall how life used to be.

Monuments may be remote from their subjects in space as well as in decor. As commemorative purposes increasingly prevailed over Judgemental aims, funerary statues were detached from tombs to become significant elements of the urban landscape. 'A thickening forest of monuments', in Marvin Trachtenberg's phrase, epitomized late nineteenth-century nationalist glorification of the past, 'almost threaten[ing] to choke the city
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squares and picturesque sites of Europe'. 173 Many memorials adorn locations that had no connection with the celebrated person or event, like Poets' Corner in Westminster Abbey or Nelson's Column at Trafalgar Square. Statues of former rulers grace localities half a world away from their own scenes of action. Caesar is commemorated far beyond the former Roman Empire; Washington bestrides a horse in countless city squares; Victoria oversees traffic as far from home as Benares and Berbice.

Famous figures are most suitably commemorated in locales they have vitally affected or been influenced by. 'An author is expected to have been associated with a building over a considerable time and to have written some important work', rules Britain's Department of the Environment, 'before we consider listing for historic reasons.'l74 But it is beginnings and endings, all the same, that arouse the keenest memorial interest. Where a famous man was born or died may have little bearing on his historical role, yet the public expects monuments to mark them. 175

The reason is clear: the memorial act implies termination. We seldom erect monuments to ongoing events or to people still alive. Hence our queasiness when we are commemorated. On visits home Updike's protagonist in Of the Farm finds himself increasingly enshrined in old pictures, schoolboy medals, certificates 'permanized' in plastic; 'I was so abundantly memorialized it seemed I must be dead'. The author later fell victim to his own fictional memorial: a 1982 BBC programme showed Updike reading Of the Farm in the very room the book commemorates, the camera picking out the mementoes the text describes. 176

Tombstones make up the great bulk of all memorials. But cemeteries now matter more as fields of remembrance for the living than as repositories of the dead, whose place of burial becomes still less consequential once they moulder into dust or are removed to make way for others. Distinctively personal monuments dominate some graveyards; in others the memorial feeling is collective. Massed identical crosses and anonymous graves in military cemeteries recall not the individual soldiers but the general carnage of the Great War. 177 But all old graveyards become increasingly collective: as the interred lose personal significance for the living, their monuments no longer recall particular forebears but bespeak the common ancestral past. 178

Long-enduring monuments acquire an antiquity that deserves its own recognition; in Crabbe's words, 'Monuments themselves Memorials need.'l79 Their patinaed forms, the archaic content and calligraphy of their engraved messages, add layers of remembrance to those their makers intended. 180 This flavour of antiquity ultimately joins the landscape of
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commemoration with other additions to the past. Indeed, memorials are often put among other relics. Monuments dating from the 1876 centennial adorn Concord's reconstructed Old North Bridge, overlooked by Hawthorne's 'Old Manse'; one memorial stone commemorates the British dead in Lowell's lines against the tyranny of tradition:

They came three thousand miles, and died, To keep the Past upon its throne. 181

When other relics have perished, commemorative creations survive as our only physical reminders of the past. They are deliberately made durable to recall treasured lineaments for as long as possible. Semblances of Ireland's early architecture- a chapel, a high cross, a round tower - festooned George Petrie's proposed tomb for Daniel O'Connell, so that even when 'the wreck of time and the devastations of ignorance' had wasted other extant vestiges, the memorial would keep alive those forms and features. 182

Yet memorials are far more than mere reflections of what they celebrate, for they add to the landscape a new medley of funerary and hortatory symbols. They not only remind us about the past but impress us with its significance and our loss, reinforcing our reluctant recognition that it is forever gone.

We change the past, then, not only by altering antiquities but by using them as stimuli for subsequent creations. Innumerable acts of imitation and emulation, of re-enactment and commemoration, of imagery and reproduction, add to the stock of what passes for the past and transforms the impact of its surviving relics. The resultant past is a cluster of original fragments, much altered by erosion and appreciation, embedded among myriad later additions. New technologies and increased historical awareness encourage more such insertions. Among the proliferation of new and altered pasts it becomes ever harder to distinguish those relics that are original.


I'm going to fix up everything just the way it was before.

F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby 183

The mythic instinct erelong begins to shape things as they ought to have been, rather than as they were.

James Russell Lowell, 'The Rebellion: its causes and consequences' 184

The present looks back at some great figure of an earlier century and wonders, Was he on our side? Was he a goodie? What a lack of self-confidence this implies: the present wants both to patronise the past by adjudicating on its political acceptability,
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and also to be flattered by it, to be patted on the back and told to keep up the good work.

Julian Barnes, Flaubert's Parrot 185

Why do we change the past? What moves us to alter and elaborate our heritage in all these ways? And in other ways too, for we transform not only tangible relics but also historical records and personal memories as shown in Chapter 5. To be sure, we cannot avoid altering our inheritance; modern perspectives are bound to reinterpret all relics and recollections. Seeing the past in our own terms, we necessarily revise what previous interpreters have seen in their terms, and reshape artifacts and memories accordingly. But beyond involuntary alterations, explicit aims prompt us to replace or add to an inadequate past.

We all want more or other than what we have been left. The bare remains of antiquity on the ground, in texts, and in our recollections seldom suffice the needs elaborated in Chapter 2, let alone the dreams of Chapter 1. 'The people of Crete', says a Saki character, 'unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally.'186 That is a rare circumstance; in most countries the demand exceeds the supply. If William James was appalled at Stratford by 'the absolute extermination and obliteration of every record of Shakespeare save a few sordid material details',187 his brother Henry mocked at their manufacture for history-hungry pilgrims. 'Don't they want also to see where He had His dinner and where He had His tea?"They want everything . . . They want to see where He hung up His hat and where He kept His boots and where His mother boiled her pot.'188

Among the history hungry today, antiquing is a widespread avocation. Copies outnumber and often obscure actual survivals; newly minted places replicate nostalgically imagined scenes. Seeing a quaint Mediterranean town, a visitor who asks about its past is told 'the town has no history, Signore. It was built from scratch three years ago, entirely for the tourist trade.189

As with memory, we reinterpret relics and records to make them more comprehensible, to justify present attitudes and actions, to underscore changes of faith. The unadulterated past is seldom sufficiently ancient or glorious; most heritages need ageing and augmenting. Individually and collectively we revise the inherited past to enhance self-esteem, to aggrandize property, to validate power. Hence genealogies are fabricated to bolster titles of nobility, decrees forged to justify papal dominion, relics planted to demonstrate pre-Columbian discoveries.

To specify such motives, however, is not to say that all these alterations are deliberate. We are often innocent of conscious intent to change what we mean simply to conserve or celebrate. What impelled our predecessors to change the past- the biases of bygone historians, restorers, curators - is clear enough in hindsight. We can now see how pedagogic and patriotic commitments shaped Henry Ford's Greenfield and John D.
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Rockefeller's Williamsburg. 190 But we cannot detect our own preconceptions, which warp the past no less than Ford's or Rockefeller's. To be aware of our own biases is beyond a point impossible: we fail to recognize not only why we alter history, but often that we do. Thus we tend to misconceive the past as a fixed verity from which others have strayed, but to which we can and should remain unswervingly faithful.

Though the past is malleable, its alteration is not always easy: the stubborn weight of its remains can baulk intended revision. When relics and records obstinately resist a desired interpretation, we may have to change our minds rather than alter the evidence. In fact we commonly do both at once: the consensual past is in continual flux between long-held views reluctantly abandoned and a heritage perennially transformed.

In this section I first examine how far changing the past is conscious or deliberate, and the consequences of such awareness for history and its remains. Next I discuss the qualities and features we like to put into the past and the goals to which they conduce. Finally I survey the impact of such changes on our surroundings and on ourselves, as participants in a continuing dialogue between ever-modernizing pasts and ever-passing presents.

Awareness of alteration

We may be fully conscious, partially and hazily aware, or wholly unconscious of what prompts us to alter the past. Many such changes are unintended; others are undertaken to make a supposed legacy credible; relatively few are expressly sought. The more strenuously we build a desired past, the more we convince ourselves that things really were that way; what ought to have happened becomes what did happen. If we profess only to rectify our predecessors' prejudices and errors and to restore pre- existing conditions, we fail to see that today's past is as much a thing of today as it is of that past; to bolster faith that the past originally existed in the form we now devise, we minimize or forget our own alterations.

In this belief George Gilbert Scott, who substituted his own 'Gothic' for surviving Norman and other styles, discounted the wholesale changes he introduced, claiming he always regarded 'an original detail ... though partly decayed and mutilated [to be] infinitely more valuable than the most skilful attempt at its restoration'; he had sought 'the least possible displacement of old stone', replacing only those 'features which have actually been destroyed by modern mutilation'. Persuaded to 'restore' the dilapidated fifteenth century chapel on the bridge at Wakefield, Scott was later 'filled with wonder how I ever was induced to consent to it at all, as it was contrary to the principles of my own report . . . I think of this with the utmost shame and chagrin."191

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The architect George Edmund Street exhibited a similar disparity between conscious precept and unconscious practice: he criticized the reconstructions of Burgos Cathedral and St Mark's, Venice, for the same historical insensitivity that led Street himself to replace the fourteenth-century eastern arm of the choir of Dublin's Christ Church Cathedral with a pastiche of the 'original' choir; yet Street was neither a vandal nor a hypocrite. 192 Like Orwell's Ministry of Truth, which continually revised the past to show that the Party had always been right, we brainwash ourselves into believing that we simply reveal the true past-- a past which is unavoidably, however, partly of our own manufacture.

In oral societies, the absence of permanent records inhibits awareness of alteration, and reluctance to recognize change characterizes scribal cultures as well. Only the fixity of print, Eisenstein shows, finally forced scholars to realize how seriously copyists had corrupted such embodiments of tradition as the Old Testament. 193 Even peoples who lack writing, however, may knowingly alter the past that has come down to them. To preserve social institutions, certain African chroniclers must transmute received history into new forms. Social function, Vansina shows, determines how far oral accounts consciously falsify the past: historical narrators alter testimony intentionally for their own purposes, unintentionally for the sake of collective tradition; hence communal aims incite erroneous accounts of the past, whereas private aims encourage deliberate falsifications. Tradition generally omits, or prohibits the recounting of, facts about the past that might undermine ruling institutions: the Bushongo proclaim that their ruling dynasty was the first in the country, although they know this is not true, and official Akan history holds that the ruling class was indigenous, though members of the royal clan know well that they were immigrants. 194

Failure to realize how deeply we ourselves affect the received version of our past derives partly from feeling that the past is sacred and ought not to be tampered with. Those who deliberately falsify the historical record rarely confess except under compulsion; those who revise it unconsciously or to set the record straight are reluctant to face up to their own biases. And because their perpetrators remain unaware or unrepentant, many alterations of the past never come to light.

Faith in the ultimate stability of the past's lineaments also explains unwillingness to admit one has tampered with it; people prefer to believe that exposing lies and expunging fabrications, securing historical fidelity against villainous manipulators, will regain the 'true' past. Faith in the fixed reality of the past buttresses the belief that by sloughing off previous alterations we can celebrate antiquity exactly as it was.

Even those conscious of their own actions often fail to see that they put the surviving past at risk. Latter-day Romans who quarried marble from imperial temples and statuary, contractors who demolish archaeological remains, farmers who plough up traces of medieval villages seldom realize that they subvert the historical legacy.

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Admirers of antiquity also unwittingly erode its relics. Visitors who wear down the floor of Canterbury Cathedral do not stop to consider the cumulative impact of thousands of pairs of shoes; those whose breath and body heat threatened Lascaux's paintings had no notion of the corrosive effect of their mere presence in the cave. The imperfect knowledge of experts too can have dire consequences: conservators who secured the Parthenon pillars with iron bolts early in this century little dreamt that rust and metal expansion would make them agents of destruction. Few who signpost historical sites, copy old master paintings, or emulate period styles imagine that such acts of appreciation may also affect how the original relics are seen. Perhaps motives unconsciously held explain their perpetrators' blindness to impacts that are patent to others.

Just because it seems so laudable, 'setting the record straight' involves more self deception than any other motive for changing the past. Convinced that they at last see the past in its true light, revisionists stripping away previous accretions remain unaware that they are adding new accretions of their own. Some reshape relics to conform with the documentary record; others rewrite history to accommodate artifactual evidence; still others restore tangible and written remains to what they might have been but for attrition and interference. Yet faith in a vital document, a rare relic, a unique memory, an idee fixe often entails the neglect or revision of other evidence that tells discordant tales of the past.

We feel impelled to right previous wrongs and repair previous errors whatever motivated them. Wanton extirpation like the Nazi destruction of Poland's medieval town centres; revision animated by aesthetic morality like Victorian Gothic church fittings; well-meant but ill-informed or ineptly executed previous restorations -- all are zealously rectified. Some restore to expiate their own guilt; Henry Ford's Greenfield Village re- created an earlier America his automobiles had done much to destroy.195

The rectified past aims to be seen as the true original. 'Historic' villages that have corrected pedagogic and patriotic invention now claim to portray an archaeologically authentic past. But because the up-to-date truth they profess is a point of pride, doubts about the authenticity of their own revisions are apt to be brushed aside, conflicting evidence ignored.

Those who remake the past as it ought to have been, as distinct from what it presumably was, are more keenly aware of tampering with its residues. They deliberately improve on history, memory, and relics to give the past's true nature better or fuller expression than it could attain in its own time. The transition from oral to written records in twelfth- and thirteenth-century England often required such interventions to make the written record conform both with common sense and with concepts of authenticity. 'A charter was inaccurate and should be corrected if it failed to give the beneficiary a privilege which the author had obviously intended it to have, had he still been alive to express his wishes', notes M. T. Clanchy. (Most donors' words could not have been exactly recorded in any case, for charters had to be written in Latin.) Unfamiliarity with actual past forms made other changes necessary: 'A good oral tradition or an authentic charter of an early Anglo Saxon king might be rejected by a court of law because it seemed strange, whereas a
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forged charter would be acceptable because it suited contemporary notions of what an ancient charter should be like.'196

In aiming to bring out what was nascent in their forebears' views, those who thus fix up the record impose their own standards on the past. Thus Benjamin Jowett insisted that the homosexual relationships celebrated in Phaedrus should be seen as heterosexual; Plato had written of love between men only because women in ancient Athens could not be men's intellectual helpmates, and 'had he lived in our times he would have made the transposition himself'.197 In restored Colonial Williamsburg, paints and fabrics brighter than colonists ever had were justified on the ground that eighteenth-century folk would surely have used such colours if they could have found and afforded them. 198 Commissioning a painting of the banquet commemorating the invention of the electric light, Henry Ford deliberately revised history to include his grandchildren, who 'couldn't be at the party because they were ill', he told the painter; but 'this is our picture, and they should, by all means, be in there'.199

Many refashion antiquity to realize past intentions originally constrained by lack of resources or skills. In his use of sixteenth-century English Gothic the American architect Ralph Adams Cram sought 'not to turn back the clock so much as to set a much finer clock ticking again without readjusting the hands'.200 In copying old pictures darkened by time and neglect and profaned by retouching, Hawthorne's Hilda not only restores them to pristine glory but does 'what the great Master had conceived in his imagination, but had not so perfectly succeeded in putting upon canvas'; Hilda is 'a finer instrument . . . by the help of which the spirit of some great departed Painter now first achieved his ideal'.201 Evelyn Waugh's fictional Forest Lawn reconstruction of Oxford's 'St Peter-without-the-- walls' gains acclaim as not merely a replica, but what 'the first builders dreamed of', an inspired realization of 'what those old craftsmen sought to do, with their rude implements of bygone ages'.202 The 'Tudor' cottages in Potton's 1982 'Heritage' range mirror Waugh's fiction in modern English fact. 'We have turned the clock back', boast the builders, and 'if Oliver Cromwell or even Inigo Jones walked into the house they wouldn't find a brick or an oak beam out of place', a critic observed, '-- except, of course, that the beams aren't actual oak'; they are preservative-impregnated Canadian Douglas fir. Thwarted in their pre-scientific day by wormwood, mould, and rot, the sixteenth-century builders' aims are at last fulfilled in ours.203

Architecture in Renaissance Italy exhibits a transition from unawareness of change to deliberate alteration in conformity with supposed past intentions. Initially, architects supposed their copies identical to ancient buildings. Later they professed to imitate what ruins had been when whole. Then they sought to 'improve' antique practice in the light of antique precepts: strict followers of Vitruvius 'corrected' deviations thought due to early imperfect knowledge or subsequent corruption. Thus in seeking to reconstruct the
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Pantheon, Carlo Fontana reverted to what he considered correct, austere principles, excising Agrippa's ornate additions in favour of a humble structure in line with supposed early republican principles.204

All these motives involve some self-deception, some lingering faith that the past thus preserved or restored is not being altered. By contrast, those who deliberately invent evidence usually aim to sow error. Some falsify the past because what actually happened embarrasses or impoverishes or frightens them; others forge paintings or salt sites with fake antiquities to gain wealth or to perpetrate a hoax; still others invent history to inflame pride or patriotism. The Donation of Constantine was fabricated to sustain papal claims to temporal powers; James Macpherson's 'Ossian' served to purify the Homeric epic tradition and to provide the Gaels with a heroic antiquity. So common were forgeries that, as we have seen, many scholars came to dismiss chronicles as mendacious accounts fabricated by self-serving historians and their patrons.205

Pure mischief inspires other forgeries, exemplified in the Cardiff Giant. Irked by a fundamentalist minister's loudly reiterated belief that 'There were giants in the earth in those days' (Genesis 6.4), a nineteenth-century American sceptic carved a block of gypsum in his own likeness and buried it near Cardiff, New York, to be 'discovered' by well-diggers the following year. Some who thronged to see the 'CardiffGiant' thought it a petrified body, others a great work of ancient art. A Yale academic found 'Phoenician inscriptions' on its right arm; Oliver Wendell Holmes saw 'anatomical details' through a hole he bored behind its left ear. Several 'Giant Saloons' and 'Goliath Houses' refreshed the curious, who kept coming even after the hoax was revealed. Barnum had it copied, and the imitation humbug outdr ew the real one.206 Now in the Farmers' Museum at Cooperstown, the giant has much deteriorated, its legs broken by being shunted about to county fairs, its toes and genitals eroded by half a century of freezing and thawing.207

Like the Cardiff Giant, many hoaxes are meant to be unmasked -- few so indisputably as the runic inscription found at Mullsjo, Sweden, which read (in modern English): 'Joe Doakes went East 1953. He discovered Europe. Holy smoke!'208 But although hoaxers may intend the truth eventually to come out, professional reputations sometimes make it difficult to reveal them. Thus the Piltdown forgery 'was merely a delicious joke - . . . at first', contends Stephen Jay Gould, 'to see how far a gullible professional could be taken', but the experts 'tumbled too fast and too far' for the hoaxer to find a moment when the truth could be told.209

All these reasons for fabricating the past may become inextricably tangled. The novel Krasnoye Derevo depicts 'holy charlatans' refashioning ancient Russian relics and conning customers into buying reproduction furniture as real antiques. These fakes symbolize the Party's revision of history -- selling a false view of the Russian past, replacing real with distorted memories, and substituting a shoddy modern simulacra for genuine past ideals.

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But whereas history and memories are unconsciously subverted, the artifacts are knowingly antiqued.210

The reactions of those who are fooled depends partly on the fabricators' supposed motives. Unlike fakes designed to deceive, good intentions extenuate the crimes of those who distort or destroy original relics under the illusion of restoring them. And faith that the actual past is too closely interwoven to be permanently subverted also mitigates the offence of tampering with history, for few expect the alterations to endure.

Motives for changing the past

What impels us to tamper with history? And what do we add to or substitute for what we inherit? We feel more at home with our past, whether manufactured or inherited, when we have put our own stamp on it. Some occupants of old houses seek to exorcise the imprint of previous occupants, to replace their predecessors' pasts with their own. To connect with a valued tradition, we must, like the humanists, replicate, transform, and fragment it; in order to link their own lives intimately with events of wider significance, as shown in Chapter 5, people 'remember' having been present at historic events they were nowhere near. Pasts made famous by interpretation or depiction, like Haley's Juffure, often become present actuality. The East Anglian scenes celebrated by Constable have become a synthetic Constable-scape juxtaposing carports, pylons, and motorways with cottages, livestock, and vegetation out of The Haywagon, like Julian Fane's picturesque village which 'looked as if it had been not only painted hundreds of times but designed by Abel Duncan'.211

Other relics are fragmented to yield time-honoured souvenirs. Chips from the piers of Remagen Bridge became $20 paperweight mementoes a generation after the U.S. Army crossed the Rhine, and a thousand crosses, authenticated by four bishops, were cut for sale from the carpet on which Pope John Paul held mass in Cardiff in 1982.

We alter the past to become part of it as well as to make it our own. Graffitists bent on nominal immortality have defaced ancient monuments at least since Renaissance visitors scribbled on the walls of the Catacombs. The temptation seems irresistible; the eighteenth-century painter Robert Ker Porter inscribed his own name alongside those of other celebrities he had scolded for doing the same thing.212 Those who dean and repair historic stonework add their own carved initials: 'The architects get furious and call us vandals', said a Westminster Abbey cleaner. 'They do it, of course - but that's called signing their work.'213 The phrase 'Tolfink carved these runes in this stone', inscribed in Carlisle Cathedral, bears 'witness at least to the existence of Tolfink, a human being unwilling to dissolve entirely into his surroundings'.214

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Even the crudest disfigurements may in time embellish history. James Lees-Milne censured Canadian troops for cutting their names and addresses inches deep in the James Paine bridge at Brocket Park, Hertfordshire, yet 'what an interesting memorial this will be thought in years to come', he reflected, 'and quite traditional, like the German mercenaries' names scratched in 1530 on the Palazzo Ducale in Urbino'.215 Whatever the carver's name, it adds a timeworn aura to historical ambience. Heavily inscribed desks from Harrow and Eton fetch high prices, and hand- and footprints of Hollywood film stars set in concrete gave Grauman's Chinese Theater historic fame.

The desire to leave his own mark prompted the painter Robert Rauschenberg to mutilate a Willem de Kooning drawing; deliberate obliteration would also lend salutary emphasis to the inexorable erosion of time. Persuaded by this argument, de Kooning handed over one of his finer drawings, which Rauschenberg then painstakingly effaced. 'It wasn't easy', he recalled. 'The drawing was done with a hard line, and it was greasy, too, so I had to work very hard on t, using every sort of eraser. But in the end . . . I felt it was a legitimate work of art.' Below the barely detectable original lines an inscription reads:


Cited as 'the first work with an exclusively art-historical content and produced expressly for art historians',216 Erased de Kooning also exemplifies the wish for involvement that motivates many to alter their heritage.

Most of all we alter the past to 'improve' it - exaggerating aspects we find successful, virtuous, or beautiful, celebrating what we take pride in, playing down the ignoble, the ugly, the shameful. The memories of most individuals, the annals and monuments of all peoples highlight supposed glories; relics of failure are seldom saved and rarely memorialized.

What changes achieve these emphases? What qualities do we instil into our inheritance? The preferences surveyed in Chapters 1 and 2 herald the answers: a past that is long, honourable, distinguished, manifesting continuity of tradition or a return to earliest principles; a past rich in meaning and virtue that respects ancestral precept and harmonizes with the present's best impulses. If missing or scanty in actual remains, these desired traits abound in subsequent additions to the written record, to relics, and to works of emulation and commemoration.

Magnified traditions especially bolster peoples embittered by subjugation or newly come to nationhood. Hence Muslim panegyrists made Spanish Islam the fountainhead of European art and science, Turkish schoolchildren learn that civilization originated on the Anatolian plateau, and government murals in Accra show Ghanaians inventing the alphabet and the steam engine.217 The European image of classical Greece led nineteenth
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century Greek nationalists to adopt the guise of ancient Athenians and pen their 1822 national charter (the Constitution of Epidaurus) in language so archaic few Greeks could understand it; to reaffirm continuity with antiquity, Greek folklorists later cleaned up and reclassified tales which failed to exhibit such links in line with appropriately Greek precepts.218

Britain's Celtic fringe furnishes innumerable instances of such revisions. In subjugated eighteenth-century Wales, Prys Morgan shows, loss of national heritage impelled patriots to glorify its ancient remnants and to create new traditions, including the eisteddfod, choral singing, and a homogeneous national costume. The Druids were remoulded from arcane obscurantists tainted by human sacrifice into Welsh intellectuals and sages, celebrated in miniature Stonehenges erected for that purpose; William Owen re- created modern Welsh as a language of purity, patriarchal tradition, and 'infinite copiousness'; landscape legends like the 'grave of Gelert' cairn ascribed by a Caernarfonshire hotelier to Prince Llewellyn were fabricated for tourist consumption. And purported Welsh remnants among American Indian tribes bolstered an identity shattered by English conquest, spurring Welsh emigration to the United States.219

The Scottish Highland tradition embodies other retrospective inventions. After 1745, the Highlanders were stereotypically transformed from idle predatory barbarians into romantic primitives with the added charm, in Trevor-Roper's phrase, of being an endangered species. A pedigree showing the kilt to be a relic of once universal medieval dress formed part of the 'Sobieski' Stuarts' romantic scheme, similar to Pugin's revival of Gothic architecture, to restore Catholic Celtic culture; but the kilt was in fact invented by an English Quaker industrialist in the eighteenth century, not to preserve the traditional Highland way of life but to replace the old belted plaid with a garment better suited to factory work.220

The nineteenth-century Irish antiquarian revival exalted the past to comfort the present. To help forge a respectable national identity in the face of English suzerainty, the episodes, symbols, and styles of a distinctively Irish past were rediscovered and deployed in every aspect of life. The Book of Kells, the newly found Tara Brooch, and Celtic crosses became sources of inspiration for art and architecture; furniture and ornaments carved out of ancient bog oak exhumed from peat served as emblems of Irish history similarly disentombed; shamrocks, harps, wolfhounds, and round towers proliferated on tea services, glassware, jewellery, bookcovers, workboxes, banners, and tombstones.221 Although the Irish Revival largely failed in its aims, most of these emblems of the past endure in the present-day national landscape. And similar motives have recently turned Irish antiquities into ambassadors. 'Sending the treasures abroad was a political decision', Ireland's education minister wrote in 1974 of the 'Treasures of Early Irish Art' displayed in New York. 'The image of Ireland, which has become associated with violence and strife,
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will benefit from this demonstration that we are a nation with a rich and deep cultural past.'222

Many remade histories are narrowly chauvinist, excluding the alien so as to emphasize native or ethnic achievements. Poles have favoured Slavonic antiquities while neglecting some of Teutonic provenance; and the Irish have pulled down or left unprotected fine Georgian buildings, viewed askance as symbols of English oppression to be swept away and replaced by the 'peasant-Gaelic' architecture of an independent Eire.223 'I was glad to see them go', said Ireland's Minister of Culture in 1961; 'they stand for everything I hate.'224

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Preservation in America can be equally selective: Southerners involved in a Washington, D.C., conservation programme asked the planner in charge, 'Why save those damn Yankee buildings?'225

To denigrate a rival heritage its antiquities may be hidden or demolished. The Mexican Emperor Itzcoatl destroyed an earlier Nahuatl codice to leave the official Aztec version of history uncontested; the Spanish concealed the impressive Inca masonry at Cuzco lest observers conclude the Indians were not a 'depraved' and 'idle' race; under white Rhodesian rule, the Great Zimbabwe ruins were displayed as the creation of Europeans.226 Nineteenth- century British Ecclesiastical Commissioners razed the remains of Irish churches, Irish nationalists charged, 'to destroy evidences of past civilisation in order to reconcile men to the notion that they are "a people without a history" who ought . . . to occupy an inferior position'; and the British government was said to have scuttled the Irish Ordnance Survey because the local interest it generated in antiquities aroused Irish nationalist sentiment.227

Men displaced from power or made insecure by a sorry present can derive solace from a romantically magnified past. Faced with upstart entrepreneurs, the older gentry in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England harked back nostalgically to a time when their forebears' status was supposedly unquestioned. Fearful of uncouth immigrants and of industrial populism, as we saw in Chapter 3, New England Brahmins of the late nineteenth century repeopled the colonial past with upright, thrifty, frugal forebears, exaggerating old-time virtues the better to censure modern evils.228

By contrast, others so devalue their own national past that they ignore indigenous in favour of foreign features or persuade themselves that native antiquities are exotic: antiquarians long tried to prove English monumental remains Greek or Egyptian or Phoenician or almost anything, so long as they were not British.229 Dismissing all history as an encumbrance, others strive to diminish or tarnish the entire past; Chapter 3 showed how characteristic this was of early national Americans. Some find it easier to expunge or slight a shameful inheritance than to contrive a worthy one: those whom the past has mocked with its false hopes and promises are less likely to revere than to sell off its remains. 'Bad debt that it is, the optimistic past must be brought into line and chopped up
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into souvenirs', concludes Haas; 'it must be made to amuse us now, as punishment for misleading us all that time.'230

Those bent on contriving a prideful past may have to mediate between traditionalist and modernist goals. The desire to affirm continuity with a pre-colonial heritage and to 'restore' non- Western traditions often conflicts with an equally urgent need to demonstrate that the new country and its people have long been 'modern'.231 But whichever kind of past triumphs, it must be one of ancient vintage.

History is customarily made more venerable. Those who magnify their past are especially prone to amplify its age. Relics and records count for more if they antedate rival claims to power, prestige, or property; envy of antecedence plays a prime role in lengthening the past.

Most peoples exaggerate their cultural antiquity or conceal its recency. The English used to date Oxford from Alfred the Great, Parliament from the Romans, and native Christianity from Joseph of Arimathea.232 Olof Rudbeck's Atlantica established ancient Sweden as the fount of modern culture; Germans and then the English and Americans ascribed the roots of democracy to early Goths; African arts are said to antedate the Assyrians.233 With threadbare traditions and an ignoble recent past, the Welsh, as we have seen, fell back on ancient Druidic and Celtic sources for a remote and romantic cultural heritage. English songs translated into Welsh only in the late eighteenth century, for example, soon became ancient native melodies, and by the mid nineteenth century the whole recently developed musical tradition was attributed to hoary antiquity.234

The backwardness of Germanic prehistory revealed by excavation dismayed Adolf Hitler. 'Why do we call the whole world's attention to the fact that we have no past? Isn't it enough that the Romans were erecting great buildings when our forefathers were still living in mud huts?' While Himmler enthused over every potsherd and stone axe the archaeologists found, Hitler grumbled that 'all we prove by this is that we were still throwing stone hatchets and crouching over open fires when Greece and Rome had already reached the highest point of culture. We really should do our best to keep quiet about this past.'235

Illusory antiquity has bolstered countless causes. From the edicts of Diocletian to a fifteenth-century carving that metamorphosed a contest between Athene and Poseidon into a portrayal of the Fall, a halo of forged and borrowed antiquity has enshrined
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Christian claims. The Turks were 'the first cultured peoples of the world', insisted Ataturk's historians; theirs was 'not the history of a tribe of four hundred tents, but that of a great nation' founded 12,000 years before Christ - a retrospective renaissance that enhanced the prestige of the Turkish Revolution.236 Many British eagerly embraced Piltdown Man as proof of Britain's humanoid primacy; indeed, Piltdown's spurious antiquity held even broader implications, for if this 'earliest Englishman was the progenitor of white races', in Gould's words, 'then whites crossed the threshold to full humanity long before other people'.237

The monarchy provides Britain with a more successful fabulation of antiquity. By George VI's coronation in 1937, royal pomp and ceremony introduced as recently as 1901 had already become 'immemorial'; in Richard Dimbleby's phrase, envious Americans knew 'that they must wait a thousand years before they can show the world anything so significant or so lovely'. Ceremonial that had been rudimentary and poorly performed in Victoria's reign was now so well staged that the British believed they always had been good at ritual.238

British faith in hoary tradition extended to British Africa, where twentieth-century admirers of age-old custom sought to 'return' Africans to their tribal identities; but what administrators considered customary law, customary land-rights, customary political structure and so on were in the main invented by colonial codification - often to the dismay of their intended beneficiaries. In India the British Raj from the 1860s on zealously preserved 'Indian' tradition and 'reinstated' 'traditional' Mughal and Indian turbans, sashes, and tunics.239

Pre-Columbian misattributions lent New World civilization a respectable antiquity. To compensate for 'an empty land peopled only by naked wandering savages', Americans longed to find traces of grand precursors.240 Hebrews, Greeks, Persians, Romans, Vikings, Hindus were variously fancied as builders of the huge Indian mounds in the Ohio and Mississippi valleys; meteoric fragments mistaken for cast iron 'proved' that 'ancient millions of mankind had their seats of empire in America'.241 It suited Americans busy dispossessing Indians to think of them as savage interlopers whose forebears had brutally shattered an earlier high civilization.242 A reviewer of E. G. Squier and E. H. Davis's lavish Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley (1848) rejoiced that Americans could now refute 'the reproach of the excessive moderuness and newness of our country . . . as being bare of old associations as though it had been made by a journeyman potterer day before yesterday . . . We have
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here, what no other nation on the known globe can claim: a perfect union of the past and present; the vigor of a nation just born walking over the hallowed ashes of a race whose history is too early for a record.'243

A cult of antique origins likewise inspired the Church of the Latter-day Saints. According to the fabulous gold tablets unearthed by Joseph Smith in 1823, Nephites (the supposed mound builders) and Jaredites had come from the Old World in remote antiquity, flourishing in America until the fourth century, when God destroyed them for their corruption. Mormons still believe that America was long ago settled from the Near East and that the great mounds are relics of this earlier civilization.244

A magnified or invented antiquity also aggrandizes localities and individuals. Tracing Elizabethan lineages back to Roman and Trojan origins legitimated family claims, and royal contenders cited Noah or Adam as direct forebears.245 Retroactive conversion of their ancestors enhances modern Mormon solidarity. Though long since exposed as a fabrication, the Kensington Runestone in Alexandria, Minnesota, remains a fixture of the local scene; a replica runestone twelve times the size of the original and 'the world's largest Viking' embellish the town.246

Lust for the ancient may entail the sacrifice of more recent relics. Some restorers virtually raze buildings in order to return them to their supposed original state. Style and
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decor attributed to earlier times replace what is disparaged as later: nineteenth- and early twentieth-century English terraced houses accrete simulated details of seventeenth- and eighteenth- century facades, and American towns 'early up' their Victorian main streets to look Colonial.

Besides antiquating the past, we make it sumptuous or seemly, like Renaissance painters who depicted the Nativity in the ambience of magnificent palaces. Great victories and glorious deeds still dominate our histories, aristocratic forebears our ancestries, castles and cathedrals our reliquary landscapes. Leaving out the commonplace dross of which the present shows us quite enough, historical romance still fits the purpose Archibald Alison defined in 1845: it 'discards from human annals their years of tedium, and brings prominently forward their eras of interest, giving us the truth of history without its monotony'.247 The preferred past is mostly seen from the purview of the rich, the well born, the powerful. Like the time travellers and reincarnated souls of Chapter 1, so often figures of consequence or eminence, Harvard staff and students named a fourteenth century Tunica chief, Queen Elizabeth, a high-born lady in sixteenth-century Dubrovnik, a late eighteenth-century Viennese aristocrat, the nineteenth-century master of Sissinghurst as the people they would want to be in the past of their choice.248 Historic preservation even behind the Iron Curtain has concentrated on the grandiose remains of feudalism and imperialism. These 'class-hostile' structures appeal not only to foreign tourists; the indigenous masses reject folk architecture and 'relics of the workers' movements' in favour of legacies of capitalism.249

The past is habitually reshaped by the criteria of Henry James's duchess, anxious to make sure that 'Stories from English History' is suitable for her little niece:

'Is it all right?'

'I don't know . . . There have been some horrid things in English history.'

'Well, darling, Mr. Longden will recommend to you some nice historical work -- for we love history, don't we? -- that leaves the horrors out. We like to know . . . the cheerful, happy, right things. There are so many, after all.'250

The right things are those that make the past seem virtuous, successful, or beautiful. Like Rameses II, who despite having to acknowledge Hittite equality with Egypt continued to represent himself in monumental inscriptions as their conquerer, we augment relics and records that evince desired deeds and traits and ignore or erase contrary evidence. History becomes a chronicle of progress interrupted by only minor setbacks, and a quaint serenity softens the stress of past reality.251

Modern parents still follow Henry James's duchess. 'We take the children to
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Stonehenge', writes Penelope Lively, 'but we'd probably shrink from exposing them to a candid account of Bronze Age beliefs and practices. We like the past gutted and nicely cleaned up.'252 The filth and stench of early town life, the foraging of pigs in city streets, the din of horse-drawn vehicles on cobblestones, the terror of pain before modern anaesthesia are never reproduced.253 It was exceptional to hear a period-costumed guide in the nineteenth-century apothecary shop at Mystic Seaport detail the harsh consequences of tight corsets, arsenic, and leeches, concluding: 'Aren't you really glad you're living today?'

The past appears to best advantage in renovated relics of everyday activities: grist mills at historic reconstructions always function, printshops unfailingly turn out facsimile broadsides, medieval herb gardens seem invariably fruitful; 'nothing needs to be fixed, raked, painted: there is no dung, no puddles, no weeds'. Nature's normal vicissitudes and mankind's customary tribulations seldom afflict life in the past as we portray it. Views of early Bruges, for example, typically gloss over the seamy side of things, bathing the city in sunshine. 'Paintings were commissioned by rich men for their drawing rooms', explains a local art teacher. 'They didn't want to look at sniveling wretches in the rain.'254

In the sanitized American past not even slaves are wretched: porch columns and chimneys raise the restored slave quarters to the standard of overseers' dwellings.255 Restored Port Arthur, Tasmania's notorious prison, almost persuades us that nineteenth century convicts were lucky to live in so idyllic a setting.256 The touristic past jettisons seedy reality for spurious romance. Like Scott's Jonathan Oldbuck, historical entrepreneurs in Old Jerome look askance at the past's messier human vestiges. 'The only thing that's holding us back', complains a promoter, 'is some of those old relics who live in town.'257

Faced with the reality of early New England -- 'Stark. Bleak. No trees, only stumps. Cowpats. Horse dung. Pig manure. Smoke- blackened rooms. Unwashed illiterate people huddled against the cold. Trampled dirt around the house' -- Jane Langton's preservationist ladies are shocked by this perversion of their common vision of the past, with its butter-churning, candlemaking, musket-seizing forefathers -- those large comfortable families beaming around their jolly hearthsides where great black pots were bubbling over blazing logs; the women bustling around the kitchen in aprons and ruffled mobcaps; . . . and then at bedtime everyone picking up those little pewter candlesticks - that nice gift shop in Concord had some just like them-- and climbing the stairs to their plump featherbeds.258

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To sustain a featherbed image of the past, evidence is often ignored or misinterpreted. As 'reconstructed' in Los Angeles, Hugo Reid's original crude adobe pioneer home is tricked out with a tile floor and roof, elaborate furnishings, and a Spanish patio; it has become the rancho house of a wealthy Don.259 Historical annals are upgraded to comport with similar desires. Mid Victorians exaggerated ancient chivalry and elevated Arthurian legend into fact so as to re-enact the medieval past in their own self-image; nineteenth century Americans rewrote Revolutionary history to imbue it with a salutary domestic and guerilla colour.260 Disregarding the fact that Christianity had become the Roman Empire's official religion, nineteenth-century novelists persuaded readers that pagan immorality had caused Rome to fall; to make the classical past more reputable, scholars conflated Greek myth with biblical tradition and rejected archaeological evidence from Troy and Mycenae that threatened Homer's suitability for Victorian readers.261 Late nineteenth- century Americans made Dante's Divine Comedy a tract exemplifying character formation through self-control, transforming medieval Catholics into proto-Protestant apostles of duty and will-power.262

Relics and memories of ill repute are likewise obliterated, infamous events omitted from re-runs of the past. Celebrants of Newburyport's tercentenary 'ignored this or that difficult period of time or unpleasant occurrence or embarrassing group of men and women; they left out awkward political passions; they selected small items out of large . . . contexts, seizing them to express today's values'.263 Tarrytown long withheld historical recognition from A. J. Davis's Tudoresque 'Lyndhurst' (see Illus. 81) the former home of the reprehensible robber-baron Jay Gould.264 Benedict Arnold was totally ignored in bicentennial festivities at Norwich, Connecticut, Arnold's birthplace. 'What can you do when what you've got is Benedict Arnold?' sighed the president of the local bicentennial commission. 'If only he'd gotten killed before going bad. Then we'd have a hero and it would all be so much easier.'265 A tableau depicting Arnold's expedition to Canada, which the Jewish community had been asked to sponsor, had to be withdrawn from Newburyport's tercentenary celebration owing to Arnold's unsavoury reminder of Judas.266 Disaffected minorities reject unsavoury roles impersonating their forefathers: descendants of slaves on the island of St John, U.S. Virgin Islands, refused to don slave costumes for a 'living history' programme.267

Evil associations jeopardize relics. The ancient bust of a Greek Venus unearthed in fourteenth-century Siena was destroyed out of fear of pagan malevolence. English
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churchmen fulminated against Avebury's stone circle as a sinister relic of black magic.268 A memorial to the 'world's oldest profession' - the prostitutes who had served California gold-rush miners - was demolished by officials embarrassed to flaunt so sordid a past. Banished memorials may later be reinstated, like the famous statue of Frederick the Great that Communists removed from Unter den Linden to signal their break with Germany's past, but replaced thirty years later to cap the restoration of Berlin's old centre.269

A past negatively portrayed can be stood on its head. The figures in Uncle Tom's Cabin, written to expose the oppressive cruelty of Southern slavery, were inverted in the late nineteenth-century novels of Joel Chandler Harris and Thomas Nelson Page to limn a paternalistic society of kindly slaveholders and contented slaves.270 Abraham Lincoln's frontier Illinois environment, previously seen as a handicap the young man had struggled to overcome, became more estimable from the 1890s thanks to Frederick Jackson Turner's portrayal of the frontier as the seed-bed of democracy; once termed a 'stagnant putrid pool' and a 'dung-hill', New Salem became the 'sacred spot' that had shaped Lincoln's character.271

Retrospective needs for success shaped bicentennial re-enactments of the American Revolution. In reality, while winning independence Americans had lost many of the battles along the way. But in the 1976 replays they emerged with glory almost every time. Defeats became draws, routs were termed tactical withdrawals. Re-enacting Lafayette's flight, Conshohocken dignitaries boasted that 'we didn't run like Lafayette's men did'. And 'to hear them talk about it now in Conshohocken', commented a state official, 'Lafayette's decision to cross the river to escape from superior forces was the greatest victory in American history'.272 Nothing less than victory will do for some spectators. Turning her back on the re-enactment of the Battle of Penobscot Bay, a woman grumbled, 'Why couldn't they at least do one that we win?'273 To propitiate French visitors, organizers of a mock Battle of Waterloo at Brighton in 1983 allowed France to 'win' on one day of the battle.

The virtues of bygone heroes are likewise inflated. Admired forebears acquire qualities esteemed today, however anachronistic, and their faults are concealed or palliated. Popular modern depictions of Washington and Jefferson, for example, are utterly at variance with their lives as eighteenth-century slave-holding planters, just as Luther is now lauded in East Germany as a champion of the proletariat.274

Americans for whom history has to be a chronicle of national greatness shun reminders of what seems shameful or demeaning. The only villains compatible with historical virtue
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are Western bad men, whose anti-heroic stance reflects post-war Hollywood's self-deprecatory style.275 But American 'history is still so full of heroes that it is a mighty relief to see a few treated, however clumsily, with the disrespect they deserve', suggests an English reviewer of Doctorow's Ragtime. By contrast, the British 'method of historical inculcation, which results in half our national figures being better known for their foibles than for . . . their achievements, has disrespect built into it'.276 On the other hand, British devotees of antiquity, who see ley lines and stone circles as evidence of advanced science at the dawn of history and hold prehistoric folk in exaggerated awe, seem 'obsessed with romanticizing ancient societies and making them as capable as ourselves'.277

Other improvers revise the past's aesthetic standards to accord with their own. Those who equated classical beauty with the 'purity' of whiteness were appalled when Canova tinted statues according to actual antique practice.278 Triptyches shorn of religious significance lose their side panels and tops to confirm with the gallery image of a 'picture'. Modern love of contrast subverts medieval and Renaissance decorative aims in renovations of church interiors, emphasizing distinctions between flat surfaces, sculptural features, and architectural elements that were intended to flow harmoniously together.279 Australian restorers added white exteriors, green shutters and doors, and polished cedar joinery to conform English 'Late Georgian' 'to what they wished it to be or what they thought it should have been'.280 Modern taste often overrides historical truth in furnishing period interiors; thus formally aligned chairs customary in eighteenth-century salons are rejected as stilted in favour of more casual layouts with a 'lived-in' look.281 In old houses that are actually lived in the past is also compromised: curators of historic (1920s) Cedar Crest, now the Kansas governor's residence, are 'bringing back as much of Kansas history as possible while staying within the parameters of good decorating'.282

Tenets of taste and comfort also shape the past in restorations and re-enactments. To 'offer visitors the least common denominator between what we believe to be accurate and what we presume they want to see', curators cast aside the unpleasant or the ordinary for
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the museum-worthy creme de la creme and an imaginary serenity.283 How to celebrate Christmas in 1836 at Conner Prairie Pioneer Settlement illustrates other pressures on historical truth. Up to 1978, visitors to this Indiana frontier replica community enjoyed a round of 'traditional' Christmas activities. But research showed that Christmas had been scarcely recognized back then, let alone celebrated, and so the staff decided to treat it like any other winter day of 1836, with 'pioneers' realistically butchering a hog. The new accuracy outraged visitors who 'could not believe that we actually had dropped the "true", early-American Christmas' they had come for. The drop in attendance forced a compromise: in 1979 every December day became 'Christmas Eve' 1836, and settlers' biographies were 'adjusted' to permit Christmas talk and activity: the upstate New York origins of a Methodist family were shifted toward the Hudson River 'to acquire sufficient Dutch influence to have come across . . . St. Nicholas'; a few strokes of a pen converting the doctor's wife from Presbyterian to Episcopalian 'left just enough room for some more Christmas greens to slip into their house'.284 Like Hexter's prototypical historian, Conner Prairie's curators changed the facts in order to convey the past to audiences which would otherwise have stayed away. At most historic sites it is nostalgia that pays the bills. Hence 'even the less appalling unpleasantnesses that we know were part of daily life - the lack of fuel for heat, the smells of spoiling food, then common diseases - seem to be unacceptable for presentation in a homelike setting'.285

Past discord is likewise simplified or played down, making times of violent strife seem remarkably benign and orderly. Mount Vernon was saved as a symbol of early American concord then quite lacking, and re-enactments counterfeit friendliness between Union and Confederate troops, minimizing the Civil War's agony and squalor.286 The film The Birth of a Nation (1914) depicted the North and the South as virtually identical peoples, the Civil War itself as without any cause.287 Pallid history texts in which both sides figure 'as perfectly reasonable people without strong prejudices' similarly denature that conflict; no one could 'infer from any text written since the thirties the passions that animated the war', concludes Frances Fitzgerald.288

The past is not always benignly exhibited; on occasion its infamies too are exaggerated. Partisan historians invent or magnify enemy depravities. The public gloats over gory tales of Jack the Ripper, scenes of execution at the Tower of London, the chamber of horrors at Madame Tussaud's, indulging tastes for the macabre safely displaced to bygone times. The London Dungeon advertises 'History written in blood! - the full horror of medieval Britain' as a family day-outing, and advocates Black Plaques to mark sites of executions, torture, squalor, and the plague pits and prisons of the past; 'it seems ridiculous to let this aspect of British history go unrecorded when it could help boost . . . London's second
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largest money-earner'.289 Salem, Massachusetts, where nineteen people were hanged as witches, today exploits its ancient infamy as 'The Witch City'- 'You would not have liked being here in 1692', but 'you really ought to experience it now . . . Stop by for a spell.'290 The Lizzie Borden murder case, once a memory shunned, has become a mystery whose grisly artifacts Fall River itches to capitalize on. 'I see her as the best marketing tool we have', says the city's tourism director. 'We want to make sure everybody associates Lizzie Borden with Fall River.'291

A penitential stance encourages 'realistic' displays of the seamy side of the past - slave quarters, prisons, early factories -- and of episodes which excite shame rather than pride. At Andersonville, the infamous Civil War prison, visitors see wells that were desperately dug with bare hands, tunnels to abortive escape routes, and Sweetwater Creek, which once ran red with death.292 Americans have a new penchant for historical self-flagellation, 293 but other nations have also begun to display the gore along with the glory of their pasts. The awful din of the spinning and weaving machines, the stench of the dyeing vats, dominate the nineteenth-century past shown at Bradford's textile mills, and a 'smell of
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poverty' was fabricated for Lord Montagu's reconstructed peasant's cottage at Buckler's Hard.294

The past's worst horrors are beyond the power of replication, but the cult of violence and the callousness engendered by television permit the portrayal of infamies unthinkable even fifteen years ago, including the tortures of the Inquisition, the branding of slaves, and the gas ovens of Auschwitz. Now a World Heritage site, Auschwitz serves as a monument to the suffering of martyrs; Washington's National Holocaust Museum is 'a testament to man's moral imperfections'.295 Nothing seems too horrendous to commemorate: death camp mementoes were displayed at a reunion of Holocaust survivors in Jerusalem in 1981. But such grim reminders often fail to convey the real horror. The film Holocaust was enormously successful 'because it was deliberately made bearable', Gitta Sereny suggests. 'Its manipulated history and prettified characters offered an easy way out to millions who had felt vaguely guilty for their own resistance to the subject.'296

Changing needs again remould the past as time outmodes previous alterations. Historians and biographers of the 1920s tended to debunk early American achievements, those of the 1930s to exalt them; formerly magnified by historical fiction, the past today is more often deflated.297 The novelist Siegfried Lenz shows attitudes toward museum relics on display in the Masurian borderland shifting with the fortunes of war; in the light of successive Russian or German conquests things which local people 'had previously thought poignant they now saw as tasteless or even incriminating'.298 Prejudices are overcome to accommodate newly fashionable relics: now praised for its architecture, a once-repudiated Arkansas brothel acquired a revised social pedigree to match. 'It wasn't just the transients who came here', says the founder of the Fort Smith Heritage Foundation; 'Some very prominent people frequented Miss Laura's House.'299 The current tendency to proletarianize the past has converted General Sam Houston's Greek Revival clapboard home in Texas into a rough-hewn log cabin which Houston himself would have disdained.300

Rivalry between a homely and a handsome past embroiled historians at the Lyndon Baines Johnson National Historic Site in Texas. While still President, Johnson in 1964 had built on the site of his birthplace a small house similar to the one he was born in, furnishing
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it with memorabilia from his own and Lady Bird's later years. After his death, some National Park Service officials sought to replace Johnson's version with a facsimile of the unadorned original. But others, backed by Lady Bird, argued successfully that the sentimental reality of what the President thought his birthplace ought to have been mattered more than a lifeless and largely conjectural facsimile of the actual birthplace. The Birthplace Cottage was eventually restored back to the way it looked between 1964 and 1972, as 'the nation's only presidential birth place to be reconstructed, refurnished, and interpreted by an incumbent chief executive'.301

Relics and records of ethnic groups likewise emerge, disappear, and resurface in response to changing stereotypes. Formerly implacable adversaries, American Indians degenerated into cigar- store-and-movie buffoons in the 1920s and 1930s, vanished from public awareness in the 1940s and 1950s, and re-emerged in the 1960s as native victims of racist imperialism.302 At Dartmouth College, founded in the eighteenth century to convert the Indians, an Indian Studies Symbols Committee banned racially offensive caricatures -- the 1930s' dining-room mural of unfrocked squaws is boarded over, the giant Indian head emblazoned on the basketball court sanded down, traditional Indian cheers of 'Scalp 'em' end 'Wah-hoo-wah' silenced, Indian-head sweatshirts and decals outlawed.303

The past is always altered for motives that reflect present needs. We reshape our heritage to make it attractive in modern terms; we seek to make it part of ourselves, and ourselves part of it; we conform it to our self-images and aspirations. Rendered grand or homely, magnified or tarnished, history is continually altered in our private interests or on behalf of our community or country.

Consequences of changing the past

All these changes affect both our historical environment and ourselves. Above and beyond achieving a past more splendid, virtuous, ancient, or even horrific than the way things actually were, alteration reflects unintended changes that reorganize the past's spatial and temporal character. It is to these unintended changes that I now turn.

Exaggeration is one evident effect. We make the past more vivid by focusing on its greatest or basest residues and amalgamating them in a contrived unity.304 'Even the most faithful histories', wrote Descartes, 'if they neither change nor augment the significance of things to make them more readable, almost always omit the most commonplace and least striking of the attendant circumstances, thereby distorting the remainder.'305 More than three centuries later Descartes's observation still holds true. A cult of the everyday now competes with the bias toward the magnificent and the unique, as noted above. But
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selective preservation and attention continue to make the past seem more vivid than it usually was or than the present usually is.306

A past thus made vivid conforms to our expectations, for modern perceptions require stimuli which an unadorned past could seldom supply. Habituated to a far wider range of artifacts and locales than our forebears, we would scarcely notice, let alone admire, the drabber and less diversified products of most previous epochs.

What we know of the past, however, more and more conflicts with how we feel it should be experienced. History tells us that everyday medieval life was hard and poor - quite unlike the colourful, high-spirited world of castles, cathedrals, and chivalry familiar from romance. The modern lass in Doctor Who and the Time Warrior chides her medieval captors for their overly authentic reek of savagery: 'I know things were pretty scruffy in the middle ages, but really! You might leave the tourists a bit of glamour and illusion.'307 In defiance of known facts we continue to envisage a rose-coloured past. For example, pre-Gutenberg books conjure up a world of splendid illuminated manuscripts, although we know that such work was scarce and seen by far fewer than are nowadays bedazzled by the lurid paperbacks in any bookshop. But we admire the medieval manuscript as an emblem of ancient learning, whereas the tawdry thriller symbolizes the debasement of modern culture.

Altering the past also conflates it, making all its variegated segments seem somehow alike. We reduce the diversity of previous experience either to a few themes within a narrow time span or to generalized uniformity. Such conflation sounds paradoxical; after all, both speech and writing elaborate the history they transmit, scholarship elucidates ever more remote and numerous pasts, waves of nostalgia now lap at the very shores of the present, and historical evidence - textual analysis, radiocarbon dating- permits ever finer discriminations of age and style. Yet we minimize the distinctiveness of these proliferating pasts, unite former 'greats' by viewing them all as 'old', and impart the same vintage aroma to most of our relics and memories.308 Revived and surviving pasts collapse into a single realm, temporal specificity yields to a blurred continuum. We increasingly seek an indeterminate past 'without the trivial and reachable individuality of a year attached to it', in Robert Harbison's phrase.309 For modern worshippers of antiquity the times of Stonehenge's construction and ruination have not the slightest consequence; to them it just grandly conveys 'the past', and calendric specificity would only detract from their awed appreciation of its pervasive antiquity.310

The past's apparent homogeneity stems from several causes. For one, things of the same material weather in roughly similar ways whatever their age; decay affects an Attic temple and the Albert Memorial in the same general fashion. Obsolescence also has a homogenizing effect; all relics now functionally useless fall into one temporal category, equally anachronistic ten years out of date as ten centuries.

Alterations and additions to the past strengthen the feeling that it is all essentially one. Popular historical icons - half- timbering, cut-glass pub windows, signposted castles, cloche hats, steam engines - come to stand not simply for a particular period or episode but for the past as a whole, triggering a generalized sense of bygone days. W. I. Thompson dismisses Southern California's composite ambience of the 'past' -- plastic paddlewheel steamers, medieval castles, rocket ships -- as a landscape of 'shattered . . . discontinuities',311 but these nostalgic images, spanning so much of history, in fact coalesce to carry the imagination back to a time universally seen as 'olden'.

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The conformation of relics and records likewise makes the past all more homogeneous. The reworked heritage acquires a studied air of coherent uniformity foreign to the ramshackle and discrepant nature of the inviolate past, let alone to the detritus that time unaided has bequeathed us. When restorers aim for 'charming and rich effects suitable to . . . today's decorator taste', observes Ada Louise Huxtable, 'the result is that most restored houses look as if they'd had the same decorator. They are all . . . Williamsburged.'312

Even reconstructions that leave accretions alone to emphasize ever-changing continuities often end up seeming homogeneous. In a house exhibiting a sequence of building styles each room is apt to be restored back to its own peak period, which creates the impression that these epochs coexisted rather than succeeded one another. The peaks of perfection all bear a family likeness; despite evident differences from room to room, the visitor senses their similarity as capstones of achievement.

Adaptations such as Ghirardelli Square, Quincy Market, and Covent Garden exhibit particularly marked resemblances. 'The idea, after all, is not that the places remain distinctive for their histories', says Haas, 'but that they use their histories as an excuse to become more and more like each other, to the reassurance of their tourist audience.' Even restorations that try to escape the infiuence succumb to the Ghirardelli-Quincy mould, like the Schoolhouse complex in Old Jerome, which 'in its small way, precisely duplicates the appearance and merchandise' of its precursors.313

Refitted historical structures tend to look alike, finally, because present-day demands and techniques impose a uniform gloss on whatever individuality they once had. Whether an old-time precinct is purportedly neolithic, medieval, or Edwardian, the visitor is apt and hence apt to expect -- to see it tricked out in the same way and surrounded by the same paraphernalia. Standard display and restoration practices apply today's veneer to relics of all epochs.314

For familiar reasons, George Dub suggests, remote ancestors described in medieval French genealogies strikingly resemble one another down through the generations. Lacking even memorial evidence much beyond a century back, the genealogist 'projects his own dream into the dark night beyond memory', portraying imagined beings whose attitudes and dress reproduce those of the masters for whom he writes, those masters who wish their mores to be the model, from the virtues they profess to the failings of which they are proud . . . These supple unfurlings then stretch back toward the present life, binding it to a reflection of what the living would wish to be.

Thus family members depicted over several centuries 'all wear the same costume, parade in the same figures, [exhibit] the behaviour judged fitting, at the moment when this narration was written, by those who ordered its composition'.315 The normative features of the present are imprinted on the whole length of the past.

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Remaking the past to embody their own wished-for virtues was a major Victorian enterprise, as we saw in Chapter 3. By modernizing the Greeks and archaizing themselves, the Victorians could view the ancients as living contemporaries. 316 The unblemished classical characters in Lytton's The Last Days of Pompeii, W. H. Mallock's The New Republic, the paintings of Alma-Tadema idealized nineteenth-century upper-class life as it might have appeared, in Jenkyns's words, 'with the traffic and the hoardings excluded'.317 Kenelm Digby's refined version of chivalry bowdlerized the brutal medieval actuality; English radicals infected by medieval taste viewed the Great Hall as a symbol of class togetherness; fin-de-siecle Americans idealized the Middle Ages as a straightforward, unquestioning epoch blessed with imaginative and emotional responses denied to their introspective present. 318 Traditionalists dreamed of replacing the present with the past; but today was usually brought in line with yesteryear by conforming yesteryear with today's desires. 319
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Presentist bias still strews such anachronisms across the American past. Revolutionary heroes are depicted as tolerant, egalitarian, concerned for the common weal - traits that we, their inheritors, ought to live up to. Could Franklin and Washington and Jefferson see how things had turned out, one scholar imagines, our standing army and our swollen aristocracy of wealth would appall and mystify them; 'indeed, their very Declaration of Independence indicts us as surely as it ever indicted King George, since the crimes of which it accused him characterize our own existence'.320 Another exhorts history teachers to forestall the decline of the republic by rekindling 'willingness to return to the Spartan and self-sacrificing values that led Englishmen to build new lives and a new nation in America'.321 But, both the crimes and the spirit of self-sacrifice are modern conceptions, not those of the earlier times. Beneath their period veneer, faces and behaviour in historical fiction, too, are emphatically of our time. 'In Louis L'Amour's West', boasts the publisher of America's best-selling frontier romances, 'women walk beside men, not behind them';322 L'Amour shows the past the way his readers think the present ought to be.

Similar illusionist criteria affect tangible relics. To be credible historical witnesses, antiquities must to some extent conform with modern stereotypes; unless medieval structures are castellated, New England Colonial farmhouses furnished with candlesticks and spinning-wheels, Gothic churches fitted with encaustic tiles and canopied sedilia, they fall short of current expectations as relics; yet all these features are in fact anachronistic additions.323 Moreover, the very process of conforming to current expectations tempts renovaters to feel that the past they reconstruct is not only faithful, but more faithful than what once existed, just as they themselves are more knowledgeable about times past than those who lived in them.324

The ubiquity of such anachronisms helps to explain why revivals often seem more 'correct' than originals, for revivals are faithful less to the relics of the past than to modern views of supposed past intentions only partly manifest in surviving structures. The revivalist gives final form to the genius of the past, but in the spirit of his own time; his work accords better with his own epoch's perception of that past than does the unadulterated past.325 It was because certain seventeenth-century stained glass seemed too correctly Gothic that Pevsner suspected it had undergone Victorian alteration.326

Even a knowingly manipulated or adulterated past can coexist easily with unaltered relics. In historic-village compounds, old houses in situ nestle side by side with others brought in from far and wide, with replicas of extinct local buildings, and with generic antiquities. Signs and guidebooks usually specify which of these is which, but visitors soon
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forget, if they ever note, differences between authentic and imitated, untouched and restored, specific and generic.327 'Most visitors do not distinguish between reconstructed and original buildings though they are very concerned about authenticity'; 'there seems to be no real feeling that the structures must be original in order to be interesting'; 'while the public shows some surprise at the fact that these are not the original edifices, they are . . . Only very rarely disappointed to find that the buildings have been reconstructed' - these are typical curatorial judgements.328 In any case, the buildings all get much the same custodial and interpretive treatment as a matter of cost, convenience, or taste for coherence. The commingling of originals and fabrications seems to distress the proprietors no more than the public


The confusion is actually a source of pride for some who parade their contrivance as equal to (if not better than) the real old thing. 'It is always flattering', concludes an advertisement for do-it-yourself reproduction furniture, 'to have your own creations mistaken for originals.'329 Another urges owners 'tired' of their modern furniture to 'Let us antique it for you. Send for our illustrated booklet showing pieces we have Chippen-
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daled, Sheratoned, etc.'330 The deception is inconsequential - any expert could spot the difference. What matters is the delight taken in authentically replicating the past. Indeed, in this sense only a replica can be authentic.

Many enjoy the actual knowledge of contrivance. Renovated relics seem superior to untouched antiquities because they are remade for us; we feel comfortable with a contrived past because it is partly a product of the present, of people like us - not wholly the work of strange folk of long ago, with their weird and outlandish ways.

History thus transformed becomes larger than life, merging intention with performance, ideal with actuality. Acting out a fantasy our own time denies us, we remake the past into an epoch much like the present -- except that we have no responsibility for it. The present cannot be moulded to such desires, for we share it with others; the past is malleable because its inhabitants are no longer here to contest our manipulations.

Imbuing the past with present-day intention and artifice also distances it, however, segregating it in its own world -- quintessentially the world of the museum. Relics absolved from functional contexts can be moulded solely for display, and appreciative veneration underscores the distinction between the now useless but attractive past and the workaday present. 'On one side plastic, formica, gadgets, nothingness; on the other beauty and culture, mummified in a museum.'331 With 'lustre cream pitchers that held no cream, the Dutch oven that held no bread, chairs with tapes across where no one could sit, pineapple-post beds where no one slept, and the rooms that no one lived in', museums necessarily deprive the past of life. And like museum reconstructions, the 'determinedly instructive air' of many historic house interiors 'lose the sense of life and warmth' of centuries 'of continuous use and development'.332 The very process of classification distances and diminishes the past, as with Chamberlin's vignette of old papers being sorted for archival use: 'The piles of paper dwindled slowly into their classes, losing personality as they gained the pale immortality of a Special Collection.'333

Many antiquities are more accessible in a museum showcase than in such original locations as a cathedral ceiling or a Central American jungle, as noted above. But if bringing relics within walls makes them easier to see it also abridges the viewer's temporal awareness. In an antique building or landscape one moves in time among survivals; in a museum they are shorn of duration. The most artful placement, the most breathtaking proximity, cannot compensate for that detachment. The sculptures Lord Elgin removed from the Parthenon may be seen in absorbing close-up detail in the British Museum, but remain divorced there from diachronic context; at the Acropolis they were an integral part of an enduring local landscape and could be experienced as a past connected with the present.334

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The adjuncts of appreciation similarly distance relics left in place. Signposts, fences, admission booths, shaven greensward detach the surviving past from its present-day environment; the clutter of visitation divorces a recognized antiquity from local context. Marooned as it is among commercial huts and visitors' vehicles, Stonehenge might almost as well be in Trafalgar Square as on Salisbury Plain.335 Even without the clutter of appreciation, change around them tends to make relics look less and less at home in their surroundings. While the lives of cherished structures are being extended, everything else of their vintage is being replaced. The preserved antiquity is ultimately left adrift in a modern sea, an isolated feature that stands out because it alone is old.

Special protection for antiquities may thus result in startling incongruities. Until New York City's air-rights ordinance of 1971, many landmarks seemed doomed by high-rise development. The new ordinance enabled rights to unused space above old buildings to be transferred to adjacent sites, where new structures could exceed statutory height and setback requirements to compensate for space 'wasted' above the historical landmarks. This helped to save some old structures but left them dwarfed by ever-higher buildings.336 Manhattan's Trinity Church and the Old Stock Exchange and Customs House, already miniscule among neighbouring giants, may be further diminished by this well meant tactic, while the midtown Italianate Villard Houses have been 'preserved' by the disharmonious juxtaposition of a massive hotel tower.

Crowds attracted to historic sites and structures themselves demean the experience. According to a 1970 survey, Westminster Abbey fell below the 'minimum comfort level' (35 square feet per person) more than half the time, with tourists often subject to intolerable congestion, noise, heat, and delay.337 In many museums world-famous relics can scarcely be seen for the hordes of visitors. 'I've heard the Mona Lisa is quite a painting', writes a critic, 'but in all the times I've been to the Louvre, I've never seen it. I have seen the glass box it's housed in, and once I almost caught a glimpse, but I was pushed back to the benches.'338

Over-popularity has long detracted from historic ambience. At Kenilworth in 1877 Henry James resented 'a row of ancient pedlars outside the castle wall, hawking twopenny pamphlets and photographs', and 'half a dozen beery vagrants sprawling on the grass'. As at other historic places 'there are always people on the field before you, and there is usually something being drunk on the premises'. It was not just the numbers but the vulgarity James minded: at 'most romantic sites in England, there is a constant cockneyfication with which you must make your account . . . The very echoes of the beautiful ruin seemed to have dropped all their h's.'339 Mass enjoyment today
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greatly exacerbates these problems, diminishing the ambience of most noteworthy relics.

Much as eighteenth-century landscaped parks excluded signs of the workaday world, managers of many historic sites segregate their patch of the past; the invisibility of the present enhances visitors' sense of being in bygone times. With cement plants, housing developments, even modern farming equipment screened out, everything seen from within Stones River Battlefield seems to belong to the 1860s, including fields growing only old-fashioned varieties of cotton.

Favouring the early at the expense of the recent also distances past from present. 'Earlying up' reinforces notions of the past as a realm apart, only remotely and peripherally connected with life today. The conversion of Sacramento's early twentieth-century warehouses into early nineteenth-century boutiques and candle shops thus obliterated one observer's remembered landmarks; his childhood scene, his personal links with history, were replaced by a quaint, irrelevant antiquity.340 Preservation focused on the distant past 'moves people only momentarily, at a point remote from their vital concerns', writes Kevin Lynch. 'It is impersonal as well as ancient. Near continuity is emotionally more important than remote time, though the distant past may seem nobler, more mysterious, or intriguing to us.' Our real ties are with 'the near and middle past'.341

Preservation from a single period, as at Williamsburg, also makes the past seem decidedly unlike the present. When everything in the preserved precinct dates from one selected time and nothing from any other, the effect is peculiarly static, unlike present-day landscapes, in which new and old everywhere commingle. 'No generation starts from scratch' anywhere but a pioneer settlement; 'the artifacts of previous generations do not vanish but clutter up the place'.342

Even where past and present physically intermingle, interpretation betokens segregation. The use of two names on Boston street signs, the 'Olde Name' beneath the modern one, divides attention between past and present, urging visitors to look now at the historical elements of the scene, now at the contemporary - never at both together. The deliberate highlighting of antique features in a room - furniture, objets d'art, souvenirs, all framed or otherwise set apart - similarly proclaims their separate historicity. Indeed, any management of relics sets the safeguarded past apart from the surrounding present.

Relics are more likely to be self-consciously segregated where they are rare. Compared with the awesome respect Americans accord their antiquities, the English seem almost casual about their more substantial heritage.343 Yet a century ago Ruskin thought his fellow countrymen far less well-endowed and hence more prone to meddle with relics than the French or Italians:

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Abroad, a building of the eighth or tenth century stands ruinous in the open street; the children play round it, peasants heap their corn in it, the buildings of yesterday nestle about it, and fit their new stones into its rents, and tremble in sympathy as it trembles. No one wonders at it, or thinks of it as separate, and of another time; we feel the ancient world to be a real thing, and one with the new.

By contrast with this intermingled past and present, 'We, in England, have our new street, our new inn, our green shaven lawn, and our piece of ruin emergent from it -- a mere specimen of the middle ages put on a bit of velvet carpet', whereas 'on the Continent, the links are unbroken between the past and present'.344

But those links remain unbroken only so long as the tangible past goes unrecognized. Imagine the effects of a visit to that French ruin of even a small fraction of Ruskin's readers. They would wonder at it, think it of another time, sketch and photograph it. Villagers would provide lodgings, sell souvenirs, and become picturesque likenesses on film. Publicity would swell the press of visitors and require the ruin to be fenced off, guards stationed, and admission charged to defray these costs. Conscious appreciation of antiquity inevitably sets it apart.345

We think, talk, and act toward the past as our ancestors rarely did - as a realm of particular concern to the present yet one essentially apart from it.346 Self-consciousness distances past from present, emphasizing that then is not now. Nations strive to defend or regain relics as tangible emblems of great present consequence, but the effort of retrieval also enshrines those relics in a special past. The child who asks her grandmother about olden times may identify with her when she was young, but in so doing makes her now seem a quaint denizen of a remote time, less contemporaneous than before those questions were put.347 Labelling and exhibiting family photos may refresh our memories but also segregates them from the present by emphasizing their subjects' irretrievable pastness -- a pastness reinforced by the antiquarian flavour of the clothing and hair styles, the frames and the sepia prints. Rescuing ancient buildings from the bulldozer removes them from the limbo of the unremarked present into an ostentatious past. Once an artifact, an idea, or a memory is recognized and valued as historic, it is severed from the surrounding present. It becomes 'a work of art, free from irrelevancies and loose ends', in Beerbohm's words. 'The dullards have all disappeared . . . Everything is settled. There is nothing to be done about it.'348

The managed past may end up not merely segregated but unwittingly destroyed. In Massachusetts, for example, the Concord- Lexington 1775 combat route was set aside for the Minute Man National Historical Park in the 1960s. To display the story of that day, residents were evicted, post-Revolutionary houses demolished, and traditional farming brought to an end. The remaining houses were boarded up, fields and pastures reverted to brush, and within a few years the whole countryside ceased to bear any resemblance to the Revolutionary epoch's usage. Instead of a living landscape with past and present visibly
Changing the past 361
and functionally linked, a sumptuous visitor centre now shows surrogate relics and events of 1775 in audiovision; outdoors, where the skirmishes actually happened, elaborate notices along a measured wood-chipped trail interpret the historical views that could have been seen before the National Park Service obliterated them.349

Even examining the past can be fatal to it. Archaeological excavation unhappily demonstrates that 'We murder to dissect.'350 'The antiquarians had felled the tree that they might learn its age by counting the rings in the trunk', commented a nineteenth century traveller on the excavation of the Roman Forum: 'They had destroyed, that they might interrogate.'351 The mummified head of Otokar II of Bohemia rapidly disintegrated when his thirteenth- century tomb was reopened, in Prague's St Vitus's Cathedral in 1977, to see what could be learned from it.352 Most poignant is Herbert Winlock's account of penetrating beneath the robber-rified Meket-Re' tomb at Thebes in 1920. Turning his flashlight on the hitherto untouched chamber of miniatures, the explorer fancied that he momentarily glimpsed the little green men coming and going in uncanny silence -- who then instantly froze, motionless, forever; 'Winlock had looked into a cavity and seen the past in motion, and stilled it with his torch.'353 The risk is more than fanciful: 'Shine a light bright enough to see an object', a conservator warns, 'and it will fall apart before your very eyes.'354 Only its deliberate destruction secures Lenz's beleaguered Masurian past against misuse: to prevent their misappropriation for propaganda purposes, the curator of Masurian relics sets fire to his own museum, so that when 'the treasured finds have crumbled away, the traces have been obliterated', he will have brought 'the collected witnesses to our past into safety, a final, irrevocable safety,. . . where they could never again be exploited for this cause or that'.355 The collector of antiquities may fancy himself a preserver, but his passion destroys the context in which his cherished relics were once part of a living tradition.356 'There was somebody', remarks the custodian of Shakespeare's birthplace in Henry James's tale. 'But They've [the visitors] killed Him. And dead as He is, They keep it up, They do it over again, They kill Him every day.'357

To murder the past may portend a like fate for the murderer. The rifling of Bronze Age artifacts led Thai villagers to fabricate their own 'antique' pottery and thus better their material lot -- at the cost of their traditional network of community relations. 'People destroy the archaeological finds', an observer commented, 'and the finds destroy the people.' 358 In Loren Eiseley's words, 'to tamper with the past, even one's own, is to bring
362 Changing the past
at times that slipping, sliding, tenuous horror which . . . may draw disaster from the air, or make us lonely beyond belief'.359

Enlarged or diminished, embellished or purified, lengthened or abbreviated, the past becomes more and more a foreign country, yet also increasingly tinged with present colours. But in spite of its modern overlay the altered past retreats from the present more rapidly than the untouched past, and suffers earlier extinction. Only the continual addition of more recent history prevents the past we revise from becoming marooned in ever remoter antiquity.

Such alterations segregate and homogenize us along with our relics: as we reshape the past to fit present-day images, our perceptions of it become more like those of our contemporaries. Whereas an unrevised past elicits diverse explanations, a past formed to fit received views reduces the variety of historical perspectives and limits the range of historical experience. Less idiosyncratically encountered, the remade past is more monolithically interpreted: the restorers and guides through whose eyes we see it fit us all with the same distorting lenses.

History continually tailored to our conceptions is more and more a joint enterprise; your past resembles mine not only because we share a common heritage but also because we have changed it in concert. But this fabricated consensus is highly evanescent. We outdate history with increasing speed, so that even quite recent views of the past, available in voluminous detail on tape and film, now seem unbelievably strange. Textbooks bring the 'truth' about American history quickly and thoroughly up to date, notes Fitzgerald, but because each generation of schoolchildren reads only one such version of the past, 'that transient history is those children's history forever'.360 A past remoulded in the image of the ever-changing present may enable a whole age group to share perspectives, but cuts them off from those historical perspectives that preceded and will follow them.

Incessant historical revision makes our predecessors' sense of the past more remote and less accessible. We have lost our parents' and our grandparents' view of history, not to mention that of earlier times, not merely because time has interpolated new pasts and altered what we know of older ones, but also because each new consensus transforms the very structure and syntax of historical understanding.


1. American Historical Association Newsletter, 20:2 ( 1982), p. 14.
2. Whitsun Weddings, pp. 45-46. See John Bayley, 'The last romantic', London Review of Books, 5-18 May 1983, pp. 11-12; Clausen, 'Tintern Abbey to Little Gidding', pp. 422-4. In fact, the hand-in-hand pose was not original but the work of a Victorian restorer.
3. For degrees of intervention, ranging from preservation to restoration, conservation, consolidation, adaptive use, reconstruction, and replication, see Fitch, Historic Preservation, pp. 44-7, and Feilden, Conservation of Historic Buildings, pp. 8-12.
4. John Rogers (London) Ltd., in Building Conservation, 3:5 (1981), 22.
5. Memoirs of Hadrian, p. 341.
6. Survey by Joyce Miles, cited in 'Favourite house names', Sunday Times, 3 Feb. 1980, p. 49.
7. H. M. Jones, O Strange New World, p. 228. See also Zelinsky, 'Classical town names in the United States'.
8. There is 'a firm impression that unless a site of antiquity is shown on an OS map it has no reliable authority for its existence' (Graham Webster, 'Mapping buried history', letter, The Times, 31 Oct. 1977, p. 13).
9. William Zinsser, 'Letter from home', N.Y. Times, 18 Aug. 1977, p. C16.
10. Bronte Society plaque, 1964, in John Allwood and Ray Taylor, 'Signs of the times', Parks, 5:1 (1980), 20.
11. Marcella Sherfy told me of the Lee sign; Arthur A. Newkirk, 'Artifact or artefact?' Science, 180 (1973), 1232; Elmers Court Timeshare, Lyoungton, advertisement, Sunday Times, 3 Oct. 1982, p. 8; New Scientist, 28 Oct. 1982, p. 272.
12. Beazley, 'Popularity: its benefits and risks', p. 201.
13. Walks and Talks of an American Farmer in England (1852), p. 88.
14. Rainey, 'Reflections on battlefield preservation', p. 75; Joel Stratte-McClure, 'In paris, plaquetice makes perfect strolling', IHT, 12-13 Apr. 1980, p. 8; MacCannell, Tourist, p. 127.
15. Linstrum, 'Education for conservation', pp. 680-1.
16. Ken Powell, Beverley; letters in The Times, 23 and 26 Mar., 2 Apr. 1981, Sunday Times, 29 Mar. 1981
17. David Harris Sacks, in 'The College pump', Harvard Mag., 84:6 (1982), 96; 'Plan to cut hallowed ivy threatens Harvard image', IHT, 22 Apr. 1982. The ivy dates only from the 1880s.
18. M. W. Thompson, Ruins, pp. 22-31; John Harvey, Conservation of Buildings, pp. 188-9.
19. Ena Kendall, 'The sightseers' almanac', Observer Mag., 24 May 1981, p. 56. See Lowenthal, 'Age and artifact', pp. 109-12.
20. Johnstone and Weston, Which? Heritage Guide, p. 8. 'To be faced, on one's final arrival, by a notice board, an iron railing and a turnstile is more than can be borne' (Piper, 'Pleasing decay', p. 96). See Rainey, 'Battlefield preservation', p. 82.
21. Stanley J. Pac, quoted in 'Dinosaur Park dedication', Connecticut Woodlands, 43:1 (1978), p. 14.
22. Robert M. Utley, National Park Service, interview 2 Aug. 1978.
23. Innocents Abroad (1869), p. 101. On involvement with markers, see MacCannell, Tourist, pp. 109-33.
24. John Shannon, York Civic Trust, and Lois Lang-Sims, Canterbury, interviews 20 Sept. and 26 Aug. 1978.
25. Beazley, 'Popularity', pp. 194-6.
26. Krieger, 'What's wrong with plastic trees?' pp. 447-8; Hardwell, 'Recovering the "lost" Niagara'; Reyner Banham, 'Goat Island story', New Society, 13 Jan. 1977, pp. 72-3; Keith Tinkler, 'The downfall of Niagara', New Scientist, 15 Nov. 1979, pp. 506-9. Patrick McGreevy notes that writers' and artists' exaggerations helped form images of what the Falls ought to be ('Niagara as Jerusalem', Landscape, 28:2(1985), 26-32).
27. J. E. Harris and Crossland, 'Mechanical effects of corrosion', pp. 21-2; Greece, Ministry of Culture and Sciences, Work on the Acropolis, 1975-1983; John Cornforth, 'Housekeeping and house keeping', National Trust, No. 29 (Spring 1978), 13.
28. Hanna, 'Cathedrals at saturation point?'; English Tourist Board, English Cathedrals and Tourism, FP. 32-6, 60-3.
29. Banham, 'Preservation adobe'. The protective canopy in fact accelerates erosion by drying out the adobe beneath (Douglas H. Scovill, National Park Service, interview, 26 Apr. 1984).
30. Tschudi-Madsen, Restoration and Anti-Restoration, p. 25.
31. Palgrave to Dawson Turner, 19 July 1847, in biographical memoir, Collected Historical Works, I:[xlv]; idem, History of Normandy and England, l:xxix. Palgrave, deputy keeper of public records from 1838 to 1861, antedated Ruskin in expressing concern over ecclesiological renovation. 'To bring back the days of Edward III and of Catholicism appears to me to be an affectation', he wrote of the intended removal of Merton College's seventeenth-century woodcarvings; repair when and where is needed, but never restore (to Dawson Turner, Oct. 1836, l:[xxv]). Obituaries of both men noted certain similarities (Richard Garrett, 'Sir Francis Palgrave as a precursor of Ruskin' (1901), cited in Ruskin, Complete Works, 38:180), and Ruskin befriended two of Palgrave's sons, but there is no evidence of direct influence.
32. Street, 'Report to S.P.A.B.' (1880-6).
33. Morris, 'Restoration' (1877), in SPAB, _Manifesto_ and _Repair not Restoration_, which also reprint selections from Ruskin's Seven Lamps of Architecture (1848). See Chapter 4, above, p. l51.
34. Frycz, 'Reconstruction des monuments d'architecture', p. 21; Feilden, Conservation of Historic Buildings, pp. 246-55.
35. Ibid., p. 247. See Linstrum, 'Giuseppe Valadier et Parc de Titus'; for the treatment of lacunae generally Mora, Mora, and Philippot, Conservation of Wall Paintings, pp. 301-24.
36. W, F. Oakeshott, Oxford Stone Restored, pp. 417; John Schofie1d and Alban Caroe, letters, The Times, 8 and 21 Feb. 1973, pp. 17 and 15; Philip Vening, SPAB, ibid., 8 Dec. 1984, p. 13; 'Making sense of We11s', SPAB News, 5 (1984), 42-3.
37. Feilden, Conservation of Historic Buildings, p. 252. For assessments of Evans's reconstructions, see Macaulay, Pleasure of Ruins, pp. 111-12; Cadogan, Palaces of Minean Crete, p. 51; Horwitz, Find of a Lifetime, pp. 200-1.
38. Ronald Dew, 'Restoring the past', Popular Archaeology, 1:9 (1980), 23.
39. Bob Koble, quoted in Haas, 'Secret life of the American tourist', p. 27.
40. Parent, 'Doctrine for the conservation and restoration of monuments and sites', pp. 63-4.
41. 'The world of conservation: Yves Boiret', pp. 19-25; Durliat, Boiret, and Costa, 'Saint-Sernin de Toulouse'.See Dupont, 'Viollet-le-Duc and restoration in France'; Pevsner, 'Ruskin and Viollet-le-Duc', p. 52.
42. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, p. 21.
43. Gods and Heroes, Catalogue nos. 21, 57, and plates pp. 28, 51. The statue in the Weenix painting is Gianbologna's famous Rape of the Sabines (1583).
44. E. P. Bowron, 'Introduction', Pompeo Batoni, pp. 15-17; Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, p. 84 and fig. 45.
45. Starobinski, Invention of Liberty, p. 179; Petrie, letter to Committee of the Royal Irish Art Union, in William Stokes, Life and Labours . . . of George Petrie, p. 15. See Sheehy, Rediscovery of Ireland's Past, p. 22 and plate 11.
46. Malcolm Baker, Cast Courts. William Feaver terms the assemblage of classical and Gothic casts 'A stupendous High Victorian experience' ('Splendid illusions', Observer, 2 May 1982, p. 34).
47. Minimundus: DieKleine Welt am Worthersee, Klagenfurt: Kartner Universitats-Druckerei, 1983. My thanks to Minimundus manager Dr. Josef Kleindienst.
48. Candee, 'Second thoughts on museum villages as preservation', p. 16, and 'From model village to village model: . . . Old Sturbridge Village (unpublished typescripts); Hosmer, Preservation Comes of Age, pp. 108-21, 332-40.
49. Charles Phillips, 'Greenfield's changing past', p. 11. See Roger Butterfield, 'Henry Ford, the Wayside Inn, and the problem of "History is bunk"'; Hosmer, Preservation Comes of Age, pp. 75-97, 987-92.
50. Berg, 'Salvage of the Abu Simbel temples'.
51. Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, pp. 127-31; Muriel Bowen, 'Vanishing soot upsets London Bridge buyers', Sunday Times, 22 Oct. 1972, p. 2.
52. 'Where our heritage goes', Sunday Times, 20 Oct. 1980, p. 32; Ronald Faux, 'Transatlantic Steptoe turns to home market', The Times, 21 Feb. 1983, p. 3.
53. John Durtnell, quoted in Ian Ball, 'Barns take U.S. by storm',Sunday TelegraphMag., 17 May 1980, pp. 51, 48; American architect, quoted in Ian Ball, 'U.S. imports old British farmhouses', Daily Telegraph, 2 Aug. 1979, p. 19.
54. Robin Smyth, 'Now there's a take-away chateau shop', Observer, 2 Sept. 1979, p. 7; Diane Shah with Elaine Scilino, 'Chateaux under siege', Newsweek, 10 Sept. 1979, p. 59.
55. Hough, Soundings at Sea Level, pp. 123-4.
56. F. L. Harvey, History of the Washington National Monument, p.48; Olszewski, History of the Washington Monument, pp. 12-13. So symbolically significant were these stones that anti-papists stole the Vatican's memorial gift--actually a pagan relic from the ruins of Rome's Temple of Concord--and dumped it in thePotomac in 1854.
57. Konrad, 'Orientations toward the Past in the Environment of the Present', p. 225; 'Presenting our native heritage in public parks'.
58. E. R. Moore, 'Cahokia Courthouse'. For another removal keenly resented but never returned, see Robinson,'Henry Ford and the Postville Courthouse'.
59. On Tiepolo, Robert Adams, Lost Museum, pp. 12, 142-5, and Pesenti, 'Dismembered works of art -Italian painting', pp. 25, 48-51; on Poussin, Louis Henri de Lomenie, Comte de Brienne, Discours sur les Ouvrages des plus Excellents Peintres, Mss, cited in Thuillier, 'Dismembered works of art -- French painting', pp. 90-1; see also pp. 92, 108-9.
60. Hak, 'Introduction: UNESCO's action to promote the reconstitution of dismembered works of art', pp. 15-16.
61. Danilova, 'Dismembered works of art--Russian painting', p. 178.
62. Thuillier, 'Dismembered French painting', pp. 90, 98-101.
63. Ibid., pp. 93, 102-3; see also Lavalleye, 'Dismembered works of art--Flemish painting', p. 55.
64. Lavalleye, 'Dismembered Flemish painting', pp. 52, 62-3.
65. Souren Melikian, 'A collection lost forever', IHT, 5-6 July 1980, p. 8.
66. Stones of Green Knowe, p. 120.
67 Interpreter quoted in Phillips, 'Greenfield's changing past', p. 10.
68. Kozintsev, Shakespeare: Time and Conscience, pp. 10-11. See also Roger Pringle, 'The history of Shakespeare as a tourist attraction', Interpretation, No. 21(1982), 17-18.
69. Quoted in Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, p. 124. See E. A. Freeman, Preservation and Restoration, pp. 36-7.
70. Lord Anglesey, presidential address, Friends of Friendless Churches, cited in 'New uses for redundant churches opposed', The Times, 8 Sept. 1977, p. 14.
71. Architour, Architectural Tour of Lafayette Square brochure, c. 1979.
72. Jean Cuisenier, quoted in Michael Gibson, 'Preserving France's heritage from before the (Industrial)Revolution', IHT, 5 -6 July 1980, p. 8.
73. 'Secret life of the American tourist', pp. 14, 21.
74. Bill Day, Preservation News, 20:8 (1980),
75. Fisher, 'The future's past', pp. 587-90.
76. Invisible Cities, pp. 106-7.
77. Norris, 'Preserving Main Street', p. 128.
78. 1918, p. 339.
79. Shape of Time, p. 2.
80. John Popham, Suffolk Preservation Society, interview 15 June 1978.
81. Lorentz, 'Reconstruction of the old town centers of Poland', p. 52.
82. Pietor Tsiollowski, quoted in Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, pp. 8-9.
83. Thomson, 'Conservation of antiquities', p. 42.
84. Mailfert, Au Pays des antiquaires, pp. 23, 145.
85. Reg Bell, ' . . . copies', Observer Suppl., 7 Sept. 1980; Leo Vala, telephone interview, 13 Jan. 1984.
86. Karl Meyer, Plundered Past, p. 113.
87. Ernest Bloch, quoted in Rieth, Archaeological Fakes, p. 7. See also Greenhalgh, Classical Tradition in Art, p. 59.
88. Sagoff, 'Aesthetic status of forgeries'.
89. Creighton, Parthenon in Nashville, quotations on pp. 22, 48.
90. James Dallaway, Anecdotes of the Arts in England (1800), quoted in Kenneth Clark, Gothic Revival, p. 113; 'New scene at Disneyland simulates New Orleans', N. Y. Times, 26 July 1966, p. 25. See also R. W. Freeman, 'Integrity in the Vieux Carre'.
91. Battin, 'Exact replication in the visual arts', pp. 154-5. Even if accurately made of marble from the original quarry the Tennessee Parthenon would not be considered genuine, whereas the actual Parthenon if transported to Nashville would keep its identity even in that diminished setting (Margolis, 'Art, forgery, and authenticity', p. 167).
92. Fairley, History Teaching through Museums, pp. 127-8.
93. Maass, 'Architecture and Americanism or pastiches of Independence Hall', pp. 24-5. The replica bell was dedicated 4 July 1966.
94. Preservation News, 20:4 (1980), 9.
95. An architectural journal, quoted in Bishop, 'Perception and the Importance of Time in Architecture',pp. 272-3.
96. Robert Marten, Plimoth Plantation, letter to the author, Aug. 1981.
97. Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, pp. 18-24.
98. Elder, 'War games', p. 8; Forester, 'Weekend Warriors', pp. 417-18. 'Willfully ignoring authenticity is a crime', a Second World War re-enactment buff told Jay Anderson (Time Machines, p. 73; also pp. 145-7).
99. Tim Clark, 'When the paraders meet the button-counters at Penobscot Bay', pp. 49, 134-5.
100. Roy Graybill, quoted in Elder, 'War games', p.l2.
101 p. 138. I have conflated the dialogue.
102. Murray Schumach, 'Queens gets battle of '76 at last', N.Y. Times, 28 May 1976, pp. C1-2.
103. Walter Orlinsky and William Schafer, quoted in 'Undeterred', IHT, 24 June 1975, p. 14. See my 'Bicentennial landscape', pp. 259-60.
104. Edwin C. Bearss and Ben Levy, quoted in Elder, 'War games', pp. 9, 11.
105. James Allen, 'Living the past in Illinois', p. 3.
106. Vance, 'History lives at Lincoln's log cabin', p. 10.
107. Old Sturbridge Village: An Exploration of the Motivations and Experiences of Visitors and Potential Visitors (1979), 'History stumbles', Landscape, 25:1 (1981), 35; Kelsey, 'Reflections on the character and management of historical and tourist parks in the 1980s'; Anderson, Time Machines, pp. 43-52.
108. Plimoth Plantation brochure, Have the Time of Their Life; I visited in 1981.
109. Fortier, 'Louisbourg: managing a moment in time'; idem, 'Thoughts on the re-creation and interpretation of historical environments'; idem, Fortress of Louisbourg; Fortier to the author, 1 Dec. 1980; Proudfoot, 'How Louisbourg restored looks today', p. 30; Louisbourg Fortress Staff Notice No. 1979-10, 24 May 1979. French-English conflict long afflicted modern Louisbourg: in the late 1960s French Canadians vandalized several displays at the site; in retaliation for his victory, a statue of General Wolfe lost its nose to a hammer blow (Schuyler, 'Images of America', p. 32). At Plimoth Plantation, the 'Pilgrims'' long hair and dirty feet likewise upset visitors at first (Anderson, Time Machines, pp. 60-1).
110. Billie Gammon, quoted in Craig, 'Retreat into history', p. 15.
111. Fairley,History Teaching through Museums,pp. 128-9.
112. Jay Anderson, 'Living history', p. 295.
113. Dolly Pile, lecture at Why Interpret Historic Landscapes? conference, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire, 19 Mar. 1983.
114. Bedford, 'Historic homes', letter, The Times, 9 Sept. 1976, p. 15.
115. Burcaw,'Can history be too lively?' p.5. See also Anderson,'Living history', p. 292; Peter Addyman, York Archaeological Trust, in Barri Jones, 'A new look for our museums', Popular Archaeology, 4:10 (1983), 2. Said to 'blend the techniques of Schliemann and Disney' (N. Y. Times, 2 Aug. 1984, p. 2), York's Jorvik Viking Centre may allay complaints that British heritage interpretation lacks innovation ('Understanding our surroundings', 1981). But R. T. Schadla-Hall ('Slightly looted -a review of the Jorvik Viking Centre', Museums Journal, 84 (1984), 62-4) finds Jorvik's techniques flawed. On European reluctance to animate the past see Iorwerth C. Peate, 'Reconstructing the past', Folk Life, 6 (1968), 113-14; and Anderson, Time Machines, pp. 22-3.
116. U. S. National Park Service, Tatton Park lnterpretive Study, pp. 31, 33-4, App. II, pp. ii, x; Pile, 'Interpreting Old Hall, Tatton Park'; idem, at Why Interpret Historic Landscapes? conference. Tatton had 100,000 visitors in both 1982 and 1983 (National Trust (Britain), Annual Report, 1983, App. 2, p. 28).
117. Philip Howard, 'Blickling's ghosts dramatise our heritage', The Times, 27 Apr. 1978, p. 6; Rich, 'Ten thousand children in need of a sponsor'; Robert Low, 'Saving the hay--in 1569 style', Observer, 3 July 1983, p. 5; Charles Kightly, '17th century fun', Interpretation, No. 15 (1980), 1-12.
118. Girouard, Return to Camelot' pp. 17, 26, 92-115, 228. Twain's Connecticut Yankee assailed not only medieval England but the Victorian medievalist cult reflected in and encouraged by 'chivalric' re-enactments (Salomon, Twain and the Image of History; Strout, Veracious Imagination, pp. 98-103, 282-3); significantly, Twain's illustrator gives Merlin the features of Tennyson, whose poetry 'had worked a kind of spell, inducing people to regard the Dark Ages and chivalry as noble and admirable' (Tuveson, Redeemer Nation, p. 226; also pp. 215-31). On earlier (Carolingean) re-enactments, see Anne Barton, 'Harking back to Elizabeth: Ben Jonson and Caroline nostalgia', ELH, 48 (1981), 706-31.
119. Coles, Experimental Archaeology; idem, Archaeology by Experiment; Reynolds, Irom-Age Farm: The Butser Experiment; Anderson, Time Machines, pp. 85-131.
120. Percival, Living in the Past, pp. 16, 25-6, 37, 111, 115, 127. Similar problems bedevilled a briefly relived Great Plains' pioneer experience (Welsch, 'Very didactic simulation'). 'To pretend that modern people, wrenched from their environment and placed in a totally alien situation, can thereupon fall into a way of life extinct for centuries and millennia, is a fallacy' (Coles, Experimental Archaeology, p. 249).
121. Billie Gammon, quoted in Craig, 'Retreat into history', p. 15.
122. Westall, Devil on the Road, p. 7.
123. Clark, 'When the paraders meet the button-counters', p. 143.
124. Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, 'Democracy and modernity', London Review of Books, 17 Feb.- 2 Mar. 1983, p. 10; Tom Sullivan, 1982, quoted in Anderson, Time Machines, p. 155. Not only amateurs and actors are trapped by such time warps; archaeologists too are tempted to think that 'the feelings engendered by carrying out prehistoric experiments with prehistoric implements in prehistoric surroundings, somehow had objective validity and could be treated as experimental data' (Bibby, 'Experiment with time', pp. 100-1). At Leire, Iron Age experimental staff deliberately wear modern clothing lest they begin believing themselves Vikings (Anderson, Time Machines, pp. 86, 95), and archaeologists in Errett Callahan's Pamunkey Project in eastern Virginia took similar precautions so as not to persuade themselves they were really living in or actually resurrecting the American Indian past (Coles, Experimental Archaeology, p. 214). Total simulation makes careful documentation impossible.
125. 'When the paraders meet the button-counters', pp. 138-41; Elder, 'War games', p. 10.
126. Don Daley amd John Skillin, quoted in Clark, 'When the paraders meet the button-counters', pp. 135, 141.
127. Forester, 'Weekend warriors', p. 418.
128. Anderson, 'Living history', p. 291; J. B. Jackson, Necessity for Ruins, p. 102.
129. Kidson, 'Figural arts', pp. 425-7.
130. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, pp. 16, 136-40, 148-51, 184-7, 252-5.
131. Haskell, Rediscoveries in Art, pp. 166-8; Ivins, Prints and Visual Communication, pp. 90-1, 97.
132. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, pp. 16, 35-9, 87-91.
133. Ibid., pp. 93, 252, 316, 225; idem, Most Beautiful Statues, p. xii.
134. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, pp. 94-6.
135. 'Epistle to a friend' (1799), lines 65-8, p. 12. See Mankowitz, Wedgwood, pp. 104-7, 214-15, 221-3.
136. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, pp. 122-3; J. M. Crook, 'Canon of the classical'.
137. Yeats, quoted in Nicholas Taylor, Village in the City, p. 60; Frederika Randall, 'Unreconstructed past', The Nation, 7-14 Aug. 1982, p. 122.
138. 'Rolled in rare Bohemian onyx, then vulcanized by hand', New Yorker, 21 Dec. 1981, p. 39.
139. Haskell and Penny, Taste and the antique, pp. 17-21, 43.
140. Somerset County planning officers, Taunton, interviews 3 Mar. 1978; Robin Bush, The Book of Taunton (Chesham: Barracuda, 1977). L. S. Lowry's paintings likewise became popular after the industrial scenes they portrayed had become defunct (Randolph Langenbach, 'The challenge facing Oldham', in Satanic Mills: Industrial Architecture in the Pennines, p. ll; John Berger, 'Lowry and the industrial North', pp. 93).
141. Goldberger, 'Dangers in preservation success', p. 161.
142. Family Photographs, p. 119.
143. Most Beautiful Statues, p. xiii.
144. Wedgwood & Bendey 1779 catalogue, transcription in Mankowitz, Wedgwood, pp. 253, 229. Nelson Rockefeller similarly claimed that replicas of his collection helped make art 'for the first time the common heritage of all mankind'; art dealers complained that they were 'sold as substitutes for, rather than reminders of, "the real thing"' (Grace Glueck, 'Dealers take on Rockefeller', IHT, 8 Dec. 1978).
145. Bolgar, 'Introduction', Classical Influences, p. 28; Haskell and Penny, Taste and the Antique, p. 122, Crook,'Canon of the classical'.
146. Kozintsev, Shakespeare, p. 7. On the effects of mass-produced copies, see Walter Benjamin, 'Work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction', pp. 223; Dorfles, Kitsch, pp. 31-2, 94-7.
147. Robert Goldberg, 'Jostling over Mona Lisa', IHT, 5-6 July 1980, p. 8. See W. H. Cohn, 'History for the masses', p. 282. Reproductions also tempt restorers to emulate the stark colours, flat plane, and homogenized texture of art book photographs, turning paintings into 'two-dimensional shadows of their former selves' (Walden, Ravished Image, p. 6).
148. The Victoria and Albert's exhibition of costumes used in a television series about Henry VIII far outdrew its permanent display of real Tudor costumes (Thomson, 'Conservation of antiquities', p. 42); Castle Howard is touted--and largely visited--as the locale of the television series Brideshead Revisited.
149. Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, p. 66. Everyday reality often spoils the picture in the mind's eye. Thus at Balbec Proust's Marcel is appalled to find the statue of the Virgin, long adored in his imagination, 'reduced now to its own stone semblance, . . . coated with the same soot as defiled the neighbouring houses, . . . transformed, as was the church itself, into a little old woman whose height I could measure and whose wrinkles I could count' (Remembrance of Things Past, 1:709-10).
150. Richardson, 'Crimes against the Cubists', p. 34.
151. Boas, 'Mona Lisa in the history of taste'; Rosenberg, 'Mona Lisa without a mustache', p. 48.
152. McMullen, Mona Lisa; Storey, Mona Lisas; Roy Fuller, 'The Venus pin-up', New Society, 23 Oct. 1975, p. 222; Ducousset, 'Epidemic des parodies'.
153. Kammen, Season of Youth, pp. 81-3; Anne Hawkes Hutton, Portrait of Patriotism: 'Washington Crossing the Delaware' (Philadelphia: Chilton, 1959); Don Russell, 'Whatever happened at Custer's Last Stand?'.
154. Pauly, 'In search of "The Spirit of '76"'.
155. Dick Schaap, 'Culture shock: Williamsburg & Disney World, back to back', N. Y. Times, 28 Sept. 1975, Travel sect. p. 1.
156. Lees-Milne, Ancestral Voices, diary entry 24 Mar. 1942, p. 40. Carew's toga-clad statue of Huskisson in Chichester Cathedral inspired this reflection.
157. Village in the City, p. 32.
158. J. M. Crook, 'Origins of the Gothic Revival', pp. 50-3.
159. T. G Jackson, Modern Gothic Architecture( 1873), p. 113.
160. London Borough of Harrow, Conservation Areas, 'Advice on new buildings' (1983).
161. Eleanor Murray, Georgian Group, interview 15 May 1978.
162. Bishop, 'Perception and Importance of Time in Architecture', p. 263.
163. Saunders, 'Metroland: half-timbering and other souvenirs in the Outer London suburbs', pp. 168, 172-3; Clive Aslet, 'Let's stop mocking the neo-Tudor', The Times, 11 June 1983, p. 8.
164. 'Revolution in Greece', 5:61
165. Here, Of All Places, p. 152.
166. Curl, Celebration of Death, pp. 40, 363-5. Funerary adornments in late sixteenth-century England were purged of traditional Catholic symbolism (John Phillips, Reformation of Images, pp. 118-19).
167. 'Redressing history', The Times, 29 Mar. 1982, p. 6.
168. William Tudor (1816), and Everett (pre-1865), quoted in Neil Harris, Artist in American Society, p. 197; my italics.
169 Barthelme and Sorel, 'Monumental folly', p. 33.
170. Necessity for Ruins, p. 93; 'Gettysburg Address' (1863).
171. Jackson, Necessity for Ruins, pp. 94-5; Schwartz, 'Social context of commemoration', pp. 390-5.
172. Aries, Hour of Our Death, pp. 547-9; Hobsbawm, 'Mass-producing traditions', pp. 271-2.
173. Aries,Hour of Our Death, pp. 215, 230, 235; Trachtenberg, Statue of Liberty, p. 100.
174. Quoted in Saunders, 'Protection of property', p. 30.
175. Ashley Barker, Greater London Council, Historic Buildings Division, interview 4 May 1978.
176. Of the Farm, p. 17; Valentine Cunningham, 'Authenticating the poet', TLS, 5 Feb. 1982, p. 134.
177. Zelinsky, 'Unearthly delights: . . . the changing American afterworld'; Stamp, Silent Cities; Aries, Hour of our Death, p. 550.
178. Warner, The Living and the Dead, p. 319.
179. The Borough, Letter 2, p. 18. Crabbe's line is a gloss on Juvenal's 'seeing that sepulchres, too, have their allotted fate' (Satire 10, line 146, p. 210).
180. People 'saw their chronicles upon the marble', wrote an early Victorian of ancient inscriptions. 'The lines were read by the fathers, the children, and grandchildren, and after the lapse of age, the moss-grown characters add the most powerful charms to the majestic ruin' (Civil Engineer and Architects' Journal, 1839, quoted in Ellen Frank, Literary Architecture, p. 248).
181. Lines suggested by the graves of the English soldiers on Concord battle-ground, 9:272.
182. Petrie, 'Report to the committee of the O'Connell Monument' (1851), in Stokes, George Petrie, p. 434.
183. 1925, p. 102. see Steinbrink, 'Boats against the current'; Stallman, 'Gatsby and the hole in time', p. 4.
184. 1864, 6:145
185. 1984, p. 130.
186. 'Jesting of Arlington Stringham' (1910), p. 135. See Langguth, Saki, p. 110. Minus the word 'unfortunately', Saki's remark served to promote tourism in Crete in an advertisement which added that 'Today, their descendants loyally preserve and present the evidence' (Sunday Times, 23 Apr. 1978, p. 67).
187. To Charles Eliot Norton, 4 May 1902, in William James, Letters, 2:166.
188. 'Birthplace', 11:437. See Conn, Divided Mind, p. 25; Edel, Henry James, 2:464, 473, 475-6, 478-9.
189. Stevenson cartoon, New Yorker, 8 May 1965, p. 120.
190. Rockefeller expressly stated his aim to free Williamsburg 'entirely from alien or inharmonious surroundings' and 'preserve the beauty and charm of the old', and felt proud that the restoration 'leaches of the patriotism, high purpose, and unselfish devotion of our forefathers to the common good' (John D. Rockefeller, Jr, 'The genesis of the Williamsburg restoration', National Geographic, 71:4 (1937), 401). John Candee maintains that Old Sturbridge Village was begun as a tax shelter, and that Rockefeller selected Williamsburg for restoration to link his name with Washington, Jefferson, and Patrick Henry; no lesser place would have done ('American preservation movement: a reassessment', lecture at Historic Preservation symposium, Boston University, 2 Dec. 1978).
191. Plea for the Faithful Restoration of Our Ancient Churches (1850), quoted in Pevsner, Some Architectural Writers, p. 172; Recollections, quoted in Briggs, Goths and Vandals, pp. 176, 173.
192. Some Account of Gothic Architecture in Spain, 1:29n: 'In dealing with old buildings it is absolutely impossible to be too conservative . . . when we find old work we cannot be wrong in letting well alone.' See John Harvey,Conservation in Buildings, pp. 92-3.
193. Printing Press, pp. 114-16, 289-90, 319-26. See Peel, 'Making history', pp. 128-9.
194. Vansina, Oral Tradition, pp. 76-85. Peel ('Making history', pp. 124-7) shows how Yoruba villagers manipulate written records to alter or escape the consequences of a fixed tradition.
195. John Wright, director of the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village, believes that 'Ford built this place out of guilt' (quoted in Phillips, 'Greenfield's changing past', p. 11); Greenfield is 'preservation by expiation'(Brian Horrigan, 'Car hopping', Historic Preservation, 32:3 (1980), 55).
196. From Memory to Written Record, pp. 253, 249.
197. Jowett, 'Introduction to the Phaedrus' (1875), p. 120. See Turner, Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, pp. 424-7.
198. Boorstin, America and the Image of Europe, p. 94.
199. Irving Bacon, quoted in Wallace, 'Visiting the past', pp. 74-5.
200. Kidney, Architecture of Choice, p. 39.
201. Marble Faun, p. 59.
202. The Loved One, pp. 64-5.
203. Potton Timber Engineering Co. catalogue, 1982, p. 3; Robert Troop, 'Buy yourself a date in history', Sunday Times, 28 Mar. 1982, p. 19.
204. Buddensieg, 'Criticism of ancient architecture in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries', pp. 338-46 citing Fontana, Templum Vaticanum et ipsius origo (1694); a retrograde step from Raphael, who had accepted ancient architecture as it was and refused to 'improve' it by 'correcting' supposed mistakes.
205. J. H. Franklin, Jean Bodin and the Sixteenth-Century Revolution in the Methodology of Law and History,pp. 89-101, 121-2, Chapter 5, p. 244, above.
206. Dunn, 'Cardiff Giant hoax'; and Antiquity, 47 (1973), 89-91.
207. Edmund Wilson, Upstate, p. 33.
208. Daniel, 'Minnesota petroglyph', p. 267n.
209. Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, pp. 201-40, quotation on p. 225.
210. Falchikov, 'Rerouting the train of time: Boris Pil'nyak's Krasnoye Derevo', pp. 146-7.
211. Fane, 'Abel Duncan and success', p. 61. On Constable, see Blythe, Commentary, p. 159. Comparing Constable paintings with present-day views, Peglitsis' Sketches of Dedham Vale as John Constable Saw It (1982) omits modern intrusions to emphasize the resemblances and show how little the countryside has changed.
212. Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences in Western Art, p. 173; Porter (1823), cited in Rose Macaulay, Pleasure of Ruins, pp. 145-6.
213. Quoted in Chamberlin, Preserving the Past, p. 190.
214. Le Guin, 'It was a dark and stormy night', p. 194.
215. Ancestral Voices, diary entry 7 Jan. 1942, p. 5.
216. Rauschenberg, quoted in Tomkins, 'Moving out', p. 59; Rosenberg, 'American drawing and the Academy of the Erased de Kooning', p. 108.
217. Bernard Lewis, History Remembered, Recovered, Invented, pp. 74-7, 38-9; Kedourie, 'Introduction', Nationalism in Asia and Africa, pp. 48-52; David Gordon, Self-Determination and History in the Third World, pp. 88-97; Plumb, Death of the Past, p. 73n.
218. Herzfeld, Ours Once More: Folklore, ldeology, and the Making of Modern Greece, pp. 6, 20, 85-6. See Koraes 'Report on the present state of civilization in Greece' (1803); Clogg, 'Waving the standard of Hellenism', TLS, 12 Aug. 1983, p. 861.
219. Morgan, 'From a death to a view: the hunt for the Welsh past in the Romantic period', pp. 72-4 (on William Owen), 86-7 (on the grave of Gelert); Gwyn Williams, Madoc.
220. Trevor-Roper, 'Invention of tradition: the Highland tradition of Scotland'; pp. 25, 34-7, 20-2.
221. Sheehy, Rediscovery of Ireland's Past.
222. Richard Burke, quoted in David H. Wright, 'Shortchanged at the Met', N. Y. Review of Books, 4 May 1978, p. 32.
223. Gruszecki, 'Cultural and national identity and the protection of foreign fortifications in Poland', p. 47 (older Teutonic castles like Malbork, popularized by Sienkiewicz, are cherished, but Poles shun more recent foreign fortresses, such as Deblin and Zamosc; John Harvey, Dublin: A Study in Environment, p. 17).
224. Desmond Guinness, quoted in Kearns, 'Preservation and transformation of Georgian Dublin', p. 273. Irish hostility to Ascendancy structures -'no one wanted these walls of memories around. The sooner they go, the better' (McLaren, Ruins: The Once Great Houses of Ireland, p. ii); 'these "symbols of oppression" should be swept away to be replaced by the bright new architecture of an independent Ireland' (Nowlan, 'Conservation and development', p. 8) is giving way to recognition that much Georgian work was created by Irish craftsmen (Kearns, 'Preservation', p. 274). In 1962 architectural students marched about with banners proclaiming 'Dublin must not be a museum'; by 1969 they were occupying threatened historic buildings to prevent their destruction (Kearns, Georgian Dublin, pp. 76-7).
225. Kevin Lynch, 'Conservation of two historic districts in Washington: when is whose history?' lecture at Historic Preservation symposium, Boston University, 2 Dec. 1978.
226. Leon-Partialla, Pre-Columbian Literature of Mexico, p. 119; Adams, Lost Museum, p. 139; Garlake, Great Zimbabwe, pp. 12-13, 71-5; idem, 'Prehistory and ideology in Zimbabwe', pp. 1, 11, 14-16.
227. Samuel Ferguson, 'Architecture in Ireland' (1846), quoted, and Patrick McSweeney, A Group of Nation Builders, O'Donovan, O'Curry, Petrie (1913), cited in Sheehy, Rediscovery of Ireland's Past, pp. 58, 20. For the impact of the Ordinance Survey on Irish sensibilities, see Brian Friel's play, Translations (1981), set in County Donegal in 1833.
228. Plumb, 'Historian's dilemma', p. 40.
229. Daniel, Idea of Prehistory, pp. 204. Stakeley eventually saw Stonehenge and everything ancient in Britain as Druidic (Piggott, Druids, pp. 112-31).
230. 'Secret life of the American tourist', p. 20. See also Walden, Ravished Image, pp. 10-11
231. Gordon, Self-Determination and History, pp. 134, 181-9. The people of Qatar, given to dismissing the past as unprogressive --'before oil, not interesting'-- are now urged to admire their heritage ('A museum to preserve the force of national roots', IHT, 28 Dec. 1978, p. 38).
232. Joan Evans, History of the Society of Antiquaries, p. 11.
233. Michell, Megalithomania, pp. 42-3; Kliger, Goths in England; G. P. Marsh, Goths in New-England Lowenthal, George Perkins Marsh, pp. 56,58-63; David Levin, History as Romantic Art, pp. 74-92; Dorothy Ross, 'Historical consciousness in nineteenth-century America', pp. 918-21; Kedourie, 'Introduction', Nationalism in Asia and Africa, pp. 54-6. Terming ancient Egyptians Negro, and Ethiopia 'the first country to appear on earth', a Jamaican black nationalist ascribed the origin of writing, astronomy, history, architecture, the plastic arts, navigation, agriculture, and the textile industry to Black Africa (Blyden, 'Negro in ancient history' (1871); see Hollis Lynch, Edward Wilmot Blyden, pp. 54-7).
234. Morgan, 'Hunt for the Welsh past', pp. 76-9.
235. Quoted in Speer, Inside the Third Reich, p. 141.
236. Arnau, Three Thousand Years of Deception, p. 27; Alp, 'Restoration of Turkish history', p. 210.
237. Smith, 'Woodward's folly', p. 44
238. Cannadine, British monarchy and the "invention of tradition", pp. 145-50, 160; Dimbleby, 'My coronation commentary', p. 85: 'I might be watching something that happened a thousand years before. In all that time there has been no major change in our coronations, (p. 84). Many 'age-old' countryside traditions likewise turn out to be nineteenth- or twentieth-century revivals (Jennings, Living Village, pp. 76-7).
239. Ranger, 'Invention of tradition in colonial Africa', pp. 247-51; S. S. Cohn, 'Representing authority in Victorian India', p. 183.
240. Silverberg, Mound Builders, pp. 1, 5, 34-5.
241. Josiah Priest, American Antiquities and Discoveries in the West (1833), quoted in Silverberg, Mound Builders, p. 42.
242. Silverberg, Mound Builders, p. 30.
243. 'The Western mound builders', Literary World (1848), quoted in Stanton, Leopard's Spots, p. 85; see my George Perkins Marsh, pp. 89-91.
244. Silverberg, Mound Builders, pp. 44-7.
245. Fussner, English Historical Writing and Thought, 1580-1640, pp. 15-16, 42-4; Wagner, English Genealogy, p. 305.
246. Wahlgren, Kensington Stone; Daniel, 'Minnesota petroglyph'. Barry Fell, America B.C.: Ancient Settlers in the New World (1976) typifies the unquenchable yearning for pre-Columbian origins.
247. 'Historical romance', p. 346.
248. 'Century game' (1973). Most living-history re-enactors 'assume a persona that is based on the upper socioeconomic class', but serious buffs often opt for a craft: 'Being a poor person "ain't much fun" but most were--so try it' (R. H. Griffiths, 1983, quoted in Anderson, Time Machines, p. 187).
249. Stankiewicz, 'Conflits de le doctrine de conservation et de la conscience de l'identite culturelle et sociale', p. 30; 'Czech relics criticized as "class-hostile"', Times Higher Education Suppl., 12 Oct. 1984, p. 10.
250. Awkward Age (1899), p. 180.
251. Van Seters, In Search of History, p. 177; Bommes and Wright, 'The public and the past', pp. 300-1. 'We want to know the beautiful or useful things that were built and the originality that was shown, . . . the grace-notes to life that were sounded' (Hymen, 'Empire for liberty', p. 1).
252. 'Children and the art of memory', p. 201.
253. Whitehill, "'Promoted to Glory": the origin of preservation in the United States', p. 43.
254. Leone, 'Relationship between artifacts and the public in outdoor history museums', p. 301; Bruno van Dycke, quoted in Rona Dobson, 'Through new/old Bruges,' IHT, 12-13 July 1980, p. 9.
255. Tina Laver, 'In the name of preservation', p. 21; Ralph Christian, American Association for State and Local History, Nashville, interview Dec. 1978.
256. Derek Linstrum, '"Whatever is good of its kinde": some thoughts on architectural conservation', lecture at Art Historians' conference, London, 26 Mar. 1983; Robertson, Early Buildings of Southern Tasmania, 2:368-76. The bullpen in Colonial Williamsburg 'looked so freshly cleaned and sterilized that it seemed impossible to imagine a drunk had ever committed a nuisance in its virgin space, (Parr, 'History and the historical museum', p. 58).
257. George Latka, quoted in Haas, 'Secret life of the American tourist', p. 24. Oldbuck's passion for relics similarly alienated him from genuine living traditions and folk survivals (The Antiquary; see also David Brown, Walter Scott and the Historical Imagination, pp. 53-4).
258. Langton, Natural Enemy, pp. 61-2.
259. Schuyler, 'Images of America', p. 30.
260. Girouard, Return to Camelot; Dellheim, Face of the Past; Forgie, Patricide in the House Divided, pp. 210-13; Kammen, Season of Youth, Ch. 6, 'The American Revolution as a national rite de passage', pp. 186-220.
261. Highet, Classical Tradition, pp. 462-3; Turner, Greek Heritage in Victorian Britain, pp. 169-72. The best known of these novels were E. G. E. L. Bulwer Lytton, The LastDays of Pompeii (1834), Charles Kingsley, Hypatia (1853), Lew Wallace, Ben Hur (1880), Henryk Sienkiewicz, Quo Vadis? (1896).
262. Lears, No Place of Grace, pp. 158-9.
263. Warner, Living and the Dead, p. 110.
264. 'Tarrytown urging U.S. to cancel law for a Gould shrine'; 'Jay Gould mansion wins status as a museum'; Thomas W. Ennis, 'Jay Gould mansion: Hudson's Gothic castle', N.Y. Times, 16 Sept. p. 33, 30 Oct. p. 31, 19 Nov. p. 41, 1964.
265. Marian O'Keefe, quoted in Michael Knight, 'Benedict Arnold --a bicentennial nonperson', IHT, 8 Mar. 1976, p. 3.
266. Warner, Living and the Dead, pp. 119, 200-3.
267. Olwig, 'National parks, tourism and the culture of imperialism', p. 255 n. 5. See Schlebecker, 'Social functions of living historical farms in the United States', p. 147.
268. Burl, Preh, St. Canterbury, pp. 36-40
269. 'East Germany to restore statute of Frederick', IHT, 30-31 Aug. 1980; Henry Tanner, 'East Germany rehabilitates Prussia to bolster its historical legitimacy', IHT, 23 Mar. 1984, p. 6.
270. Riggio, 'Uncle Tom reconstructed'.
271. R. S. Taylor, 'How New Salem became an outdoor museum', p. 2.
272. William Collins and Oran Henderson, quoted in Israel Shenker, 'U.S. bicentennial cures history's warts', IHT, 5-6 July 1975, p. 5.
273. Quoted in Clark, 'When the paraders meet the button-counters', p. 44. So popular were American Civil War centennial re-enactments, however, that Southerners commemorated their defeats as well as their victories (Karl Betts, testimony at House Appropriations Committee, 1961, quoted in Anderson, Time Machines, p. 141).
274. Peterson, Jeffersonian Image in the American Mind, discusses the needs that shaped reverence for Jefferson but bypasses the gulf between facts and images; 'Luther lauded', in 'Times diary', The Times, 24 Sept. 1982.
275. The National Association and Center for Outlaw and Lawman History, founded in 1974 at Utah State University and now affiliated with the University of Wyoming, reflects this interest.
276. Russell Davies, 'Mingle with the mighty', TLS, 23 Jan. 1976, p. 77.
277. John Patrick, quoted in Douglas Aiton, 'Stonehenge theory challenged in Australia', The Times, 22 Mar. 1980, p. 5. See Heggie, Megalithic Science; Williamson and Bellamy, Ley Lines in Question; Burl, 'Science or symbolism: problems of archaeo-astronomy'; Burl and Michelle, 'Living leys or laying the lies?'. The cult of prehistoric science owes much to Stukeley's Stonehenge (1740): 'our predecessors, the Druids of Britain . . . advanc'd their inquiries, under all disadvantages, to such heights, as should make our moderns asham'd, to wink in the sunshine of learning and religion' (p. vii).
278. Greenhalgh, Classical Tradition in Art, pp. 217-18. As recently as the 1950s, the copy of the Attalus Stoa erected by the American School of Classical Studies in Athens eschewed red and blue paint as untrue, not to the original, but to the modern stereotype (Home, Great Museum, p. 29). The late nineteenth-century Colonial Revival similarly whitened greyish blue and green colonial American woodwork (Flaherty, 'Colonial Revival house', p. 9).
279. Paul Philippot, 'Conservation and the art historian', lecture at the Architectural Association, London, 29 Feb. 1984; Walden, Ravished Image, pp. 6, 13, 92,144.
280. Clive Lucas, quoted in 'World of Conservation: an interview with Clive Lucas', p. 237.
281. J. T. Butler, 'Historic rooms at Sleepy Hollow restorations', p. 69. 'The impulse to decorate in conformity with 20th-century taste is commonly allowed to prevail . . . Often, after professional research reveals the actual paper that was used in a room, the results are ignored by members of an influential committee who consider the paper ugly and therefore "inappropriate"' (Frangiamore, Wallpapers in Historic Preservation, p. 2). See Parr, 'History and the historical museum', pp. 58-9.
282. Nel Richmond, quoted in Craig, 'Champions of history', p. 10.
283. Mary Stevens, 'Wistful thinking: the effect of nostalgia on interpretation', p. 11.
284. Ronsheim, 'Christmas at Conner Prairie', quotations on p. 16.
285. Stevens, 'Wistful thinking', p. 10. Aero Park and Flambard Village in Culdrose, Cornwall, likewise display pasts said to conform more to public expectations than to historical facts (Kavanagh, 'History and the museum: the nostalgia business').
286. David Hall, 'Preserving what is best from the past', Bostonia, Dec. 1971, pp. 13-16; Hill, Mahan, and Johns, 'The changing view from Mt. Vernon'; Hosmer, Presence of the Past, pp. 41-62; Forgie, Patricide, pp. 168-72; Rainey, 'Battlefield preservation', p. 85.
287. Sorlin, Film in History, pp.91-5.
288. America Revised, p. 156.
289. Annabel Geddes, quoted in 'Plague and plaque', 'Times diary', The Times, 20 Oct. 1981, p. 14. See Helen Chappell, 'Horror, degradation, etc', New Society, 3 Sept. 1981, pp. 381-2.
290. Salem Witch Museum brochure, 1984. See Michael Carlton, 'New England's witch town', N.Y. Post, 12 Aug. 1980; Kay, 'Salem: fly beyond the witch image'; Wallace, 'Visiting the past', p. 71.
291. Kenneth Raymond, quoted in 'Lizzie Borden: new tourist lure?' Sacramento Bee, 5 Aug. 1982, p. A8.
292. Watkins, 'A heritage preserved. Listening: Andersonville'. The site was designated in 1970.
293. Kenneth L. Adelman, 'Stronger voice for U.S.', N.Y. Times, 1 Aug. 1980, p. A23. U.S. National Park Service battlefield interpretations today focus so much on the horrors of war that some suspect pacifist leanings (Rainey, 'Battlefield preservation', p. 77).
294. Ian Bradley, 'Bradford, gateway to the past', The Times, 13 Mar. 1982, p. 6; 'Historic smells waft into AIM museums', Quarterly Bulletin of the Association of Independent Museums, 23:3 (1983). Poverty's odour was not specified, but Beaulieu's technical services head suggested to me a possible blend of cooked cabbage, excrete and unwashed human bodies (John Willrich, 25 Jan. 1985).
295. World Heritage List, Nomination Form for Auschwitz Concentration Camp, 1978, Georges Fradier, 'Wonders of the world', UNESCO Courier, 33:8 (1980), 34; Vice-President George Bush, quoted in 'Ground broken for Holocaust museum', N.Y. Times, 1 May 1984. See Home, Great Museum, pp. 244-7.
296. 'BBC condones distorted history', New Statesman, 29 Aug. 1980, p. 9.
297. A. H. Jones, 'Search for a usable past in the New Deal era', pp. 712-14, 720; Strout, Veracious Image, p. 171.
298. Heritage, p. 452.
299. Julia Yadon, quoted in P. L. Brown, 'The problem with Miss Laura's house', p. 19. Today's permissive mores enable Westerners to cherish aspects of the past once shunned as shameful (Grace Lichtenstein, 'Cities in West are starting to protect architectural relics of a gaudy past', N.Y. Times, 19 Aug. 1975, p. 67).
300. Michael Leccese, 'Sow's ear from silk purse? Texas landmark endangered', amd 'Epilogue: cabin conversion complete', Preservation News, 20:12 (1980), 1, 10, and 22:6 (1982), 12. On the tendency to invent rustic simplicity, see Gowans, Rural Myth and Urban Fact in the American Heritage, pp. 14-16. Cary Carson, 'Living museums of everyman's history' (1981), explains--and praises--the new populism at Colonial Williamsburg and elsewhere.
301. Bearss, Furnishing Study: Lyndon B. Johnson National Historic Site, p. 3. According to Lady Bird Johnson, the President had 'never for a moment considered it as an authentic reconstruction' (3 Mar. 1978, quoted on p. 4). I am grateful to Robert M. Utley and Edwin C. Bearss, National Park Service, for interviews, 2 Aug.1978 and 25 Apr. 1984 respectively.
302. Fitzgerald, America Revised, pp. 90-3; Bataille and Silet (eds.), Pretend Indians, especially Donald L. Kaufmann, 'Indian as media hand-me-down' (1975), pp. 22-34, and John A. Price, 'The stereotyping of North American Indians in motion pictures' (1973), pp. 75-91.
303. Dena Kleiman, 'Dartmouth alumni trying to "Bring back the Indian"', N.Y. Times, 3 Aug. 1980, p. 16.
304. Bate, Burden of the Past, p. 67.
305. Discours de la methode (1637), p. 7.
306. A selective haze likewise promotes the remote and demotes the recent past. 'The thirteenth century is celebrated as if it were summed up by St. Thomas Aquinas, Dante, and the Virgin of Chartres, while the twentieth century is reduced to Hitler, Hearst, and the sex queens of Hollywood' (H. J. Muller, Uses of the Past (1952), p. 23).
307. Dicks, Doctor Who and the Time Warrior, p. 64.
308. Malraux, Voices of Silence, p. 591; Bate, Burden of the Past, p. 70. To Robert Lowell during bouts of insanity 'all history became a simultaneous event where it was possible for everyone to meet everyone ... the distinctions of time vanished altogether, and the world was peopled by a series of tyrants and geniuses all jostling with one another' (Jonathan Miller, interview 1980, in Ian Hamilton, Robert Lowell, p. 314). Helen Vendler thinks 'that this vast theater of competing events is the European past as Americans must see it' ('American poet', N. Y. Review of Books, 2 Dec. 1982, pp. 4-6).
309. Deliberate Regression, p. 161.
310. James Mitchell, 'Druids at Stonehenge', The Times, 30 June 1978, p. 19. See 'Solstice invasion of Stonehenge', letters, The Times, 28 June 1978, p. 17.
311. At the Edge of History, p. 12.
312. 'The old lady of 29 East Fourth St.', N. Y. Times 28 June 1972, sect. 2, p. 22.
313. Haas, 'Secret life of the American tourist', pp.22, 24. 'Blindfold a tourist and drop him in Canal Square in Washington or Ghirardelli Square in San Francisco or Quincy Market in Boston - and it would be impossible to say whose history he is re-enacting or remembering . . . Restoration developments are interchangeable in design as well as content' (Andrew Kopkind, 'Kitsch for the rich', The Real Paper (Cambridge, Mass.), 19 Feb. 1977, p. 22). See Thorne, Covent Garden Market, pp. 87-90.
314. Trillin, 'Thoughts brought on by prolonged exposure to exposed brick', pp. 100, 104; Liebs, 'Remember our not-so-distant past?' p. 33.
315. Duby, 'Memories with no historian', pp. 12, 14.
316. Turner, Greek Heritage in Victorian Thought, pp. xii, 8, 229, 263, 383.
317. Victorians and Ancient Greece, pp. 316-17.
318. Girouard, Return to Camelot, pp. 60, 146, 179, 70, 76; Lears, No Place of Grace, pp. 149, 163.
319. Blaas, Continuity and Anachronism, p. 141; Burrow, Liberal Descent, pp. 224-8. 'The fervour of the Whighistorian very often comes from . . . the transference into the past of an enthusiasm for something in the present, an enthusiasm for democracy or freedom of thought or the liberal tradition' (Butterfield, Whig Interpretation of History, p. 96).
320. Zuckerman, 'Irrelevant Revolution', p. 238.
321. Ivor Noel Hume, quoted in Cary Carson, 'Living museums of everyman's history', p. 32.
322. Bantam Books advertisement, 1982.
323. Kenneth Clark, Gothic Revival. 'The Tudor we now look sixteenth century Tudor but Tudor made in the image of what twentieth century builders think Tudor ought to look like' (Prince, 'Reality stranger than fiction', p. 14); Arthur Evans's art-nouveau style frescoes at Knossos have formed the modern image of what Minoan must have been like (Sparshott, 'Disappointed art lover', p. 249).
324. 'As the recent Getty Museum demonstrates, the fragments of Pompeian villas may be recreated with an accuracy that is . . . greater than the original' (Jencks, 'Introduction', Post-Modern Classicism, p. 10)
325. Hitchcock and Seale, Temples of Democracy, p. 205.
326. Cited in Adams, Lost Museum, p. 88.
327. Utley, 'Preservation ideal', p. 44. 'I don't know how many times a day', says an interpreter at Greenfield, 'I hear somebody say, "Why, I never realized Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, Noah Webster and the Wright Brothers all lived in the same town"' (quoted in Phillips, 'Greenfield's changing past', p. 44).
328. Letters to the author from David A. Armour, Mackinac Island State Park Commission, Michigan, 1 Dec. 1980; Jean C. Smith, Liberty Village Foundation, Flemington, N.J., 25 Nov. 1980; Ronald G. Wilson, Appomattox Courthouse National Historical Park, Virginia, 25 Nov. 1980. Visitors to homes of the famous do, however, crave artifacts actually used by them (Irwin, 'Visitor response to Interpretation at Selected Historic Sites', pp. 153-5).
329. Cohasset Colonials, Hagerty catalog, 1967.
330. Peterborough, 'Applied art?' Daily Telegraph, 24 July 1979, p. 14.
331. Marrey, Grand's magasins, p. 246.
332. Benson, 'Spirit of '76', p. 24; Watkin, Rise of Architectural History, p. 187. 'What a long walk it is from one end of the Museum to the other, and how singularly lifeless the loveliest things appear' (Betjeman, 'Antiquarian prejudice' (1937), p. 69). Many museums are now much more lively, but no animation can bring their relics into the present.
333. Preserving the Past, p. 107.
334. This is not to assert that all antiquities should remain in situ; as noted above, most people prefer them in more accessible places. Great works of art may gain value freed from contexts of time and place, as their creators often intended them to be. 'Our age is infected with a mania for showing things only in the environment that properly belongs to them, thereby suppressing the essential thing, the act of mind which isolated them from that environment' in the first place. The tendency is as common today as it was in Proust's era. But a masterpiece contemplated 'in the midst of furniture, ornaments, hangings of tbe same period, stale settings . . . does not give us the exhilarating delight that we can expect from it only in a public gallery', whose neutral and uncluttered background accords far better with 'those innermost spaces into which the artist withdrew to create it' (Remembrance of Things Past, 1:693-4).
335. Chippindale, 'What future for Stonehenge?'; idem, Stonehenge Complete; Royal Commission on Ancient Monuments, Stonehenge and Its Environs.
336. Costonis, Space Adrift, pp.54-61; Goldstone and Dalrymple, History Preserved: Guide to New York City Landmarks, p. 25; Huxtable, Kicked a Building Lately? pp. 269-72.
337. Hanna, 'Cathedrals at saturation point?' pp. 179-81; English Tourist Board, English Cathedrals and Tourism, pp. 56-9.
338. Goldberg, 'Jostling over Mona Lisa', IHT, 5-6 July 1980, p. 8.
339. English Hours, pp. 124-5.
340. Thomas Frye, 'My history is missing', Preservation News, 17:12 (1977), 16.
341. What Time Is This Place?, p. 61. 'Anything before the eighteenth century is just too foreign for me', confessed a colleague of Anderson's at Plimoth Plantation (Time Machines, p. 81).
342. Steinberg, 'Has anyone seen the Zeitgeist?' p. 24. See Lowenthal, 'American way of history'. Economic and technical constraints also engender static, uniform temporal concentration; American living historical farms cluster around 1850 in the North, 1870 in the South, because tools from earlier periods are hard to obtain and tractors and reapers of more recent times require costly maintenance (Schlebecker, 'Social functions of living historical farms', pp. 147-8).
343. 'We corrupted Old-Worlders are much more sloppy and imprecise with our ancient monuments; we have lived with them for centuries and treat them like old pieces of family furniture, to be patched and repaired at need. And we made most of them ourselves, so--what the hell--they are ours to deal with as we think fit' (Banham, 'Preservation adobe', p. 24).
344. Modern Painters, IV, Pt 5, Ch. 1, sects. 3 and 4, pp. 3-4. On the distinction between living relic and dead specimen, see Bann, Clothing of Clio, pp. 17, 82, 91, 131.
345. Lynch, What Time Is This Place? p. 237; Lowenthal, 'Age and artifact', pp. 124-5.
346. Ong, Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology, pp. 325-6.
347. Thorndike, 'Renaissance or prenaissance?' p. 66; Panofsky, Renaissance and Renascences, pp. 36-7; Lowenthal, 'Past time, present place', pp. 13-14.
348. Lytton Strachey' p. 345.
349. Historical continuity has been sacrificed in the interest of future reversion to the original scene; the Park Service's aim, through massive archival research, 'is the eventual recreation of the landscape which once existed on that momentous day' (Malcolm, Scene of the Battle, 1775, p. 6).
350. Wordsworth, 'Tables turned' (1798), line 28.
351. Hillard, Six Months in Italy (1853), 1:299.
352. Malcolm W. Browne, 'Prague protects its medieval architecture', IHT, 25 Jan. 1977, p. 3.
353. Winlock, 'Diggers luck' (1921), p. 3; quotation from Eiseley, All the Strange Hours, p. 104.
354. Jonathan Ashley-Smith, Keeper of Conservation, Victoria and Albert Museum, 'Conservation and information', lecture at Art Historians' conference, London, 26 Mar. 1983.
355. Lenz, Heritage, p. 458.
356. Arendt, 'Introduction: Walter Benjamin', pp. 39-45.
357. 'Birthplace', 11:440. 'How one might love it', muses a James protagonist on the past around him in a sleepy English village, 'but how one might spoil it! To look at it too hard was positively to make it conscious, and to make it conscious was positively to wake it up. Its only safety . . . was to be left still to sleep' ('Flickerbridge', 11:337).
358. Debra Weiner, 'Treasures from the Thai earth', IHT, 26-7 June 1982, p. 6. See Alicia Levin, 'Thai town's specialty: making "antiques"', IHT, 23 Sept. 1981, p. 5.
359. All the Strange Hours , p.97.
360. America Revised, p. 17; see also p. 47.