Does memory of the distant past matter? Remediating the Norman Conquest

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The article examines the question of whether memory of the distant past can matter today by drawing on a case study of contemporary British memory and myths of the Norman Conquest. The two main sources of data are a corpus of newspaper articles in which the Conquest is referred to, and a quantitative survey of the population of the United Kingdom. In a preliminary discussion myths of the Norman Conquest are described, and differences between recent and distant memory of a significant event are considered. Then the question of intercultural relations and distant memory is examined, in particular whether British memory of the Norman Conquest has an impact on international and intra-national relations today as expressed in attitudes towards the French, and towards foreigners in Britain. It is concluded that memory of past iconic events does have an impact, and that characteristics of distant memory such as multiple remediation, multi-directionality and affective mobility are important in explaining the role and influence of memory of the distant past regarding intercultural relations today. © The Author(s) 2011.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)360-377
Number of pages17
JournalMemory Studies
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012


  • Distant memory
  • intercultural relations
  • Norman Conquest


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