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Mimic Toil: Eighteenth-Century Preconditions for the Modern Historical Reenactment

Chapter
Part of the Reenactment History book series (REH)

Abstract

Like other genres that have arrived on the historical scene relatively recently, the historical reenactment is a more complex cultural form than its status would lead us to suppose. Indeed, the category ‘historical reenactment’ covers a variety of subgenres including: (1) the organized recreational imitation of a historical event by hobbyists; (2) the reproduction of a historical genre (e.g., the medieval tournament) or situation (e.g., a nineteenth-century mining town), often in the interests of tourism; and (3) the repetition of a historical event for the media, usually television. None of these subgenres in their present form existed in the eighteenth century, which is somewhat puzzling since so many of their constitutive elements already existed. It is almost as if, looking backward, the period is straining toward the reenactment as we know it. What exactly, we might ask, is preventing its emergence?

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Modern Polish Groin Injury Public Memory Navy Ship 
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Notes

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© Simon During 2010

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