Reenactment and Neo-Realism

Part of the Reenactment History book series (REH)


What are we to do about reenactment? Here’s a term that seems to cover a multitude of sins and a myriad of forms — the Christian sacrament of communion, the activities of societies for creative anachronism, Shakespeare’s history plays, movies about the Alamo, art forgeries, a lot of pornography, most scientific experiments. Perhaps it is better to ask why supposedly sane academics have come to be interested in or pre-occupied by reenactment. One easy answer is to say of reenactment, as of sexually transmitted disease, that there is a lot more of it about nowadays. But reenactment has been around for 200 years or so. Its forms and frequency may have fluctuated but it has been a general feature of the culture of modernity, with its progressive view of history which figures change as both progress and loss. (Think for example of nineteenth and early twentieth-century world fairs, almost all of which contained not just evidences of modernity, but reenactments of the savage and the primitive).1


Ordinary Life American Soldier Distance Elimination Linear Narrative Amateur Enthusiast 
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© John Brewer 2010

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