Door-to-door and across-the-counter factuals
History as fashion, furniture, fraud, forgery, folklore and fiction in the Romantic onset of modernity
in Counterfactual Romanticism
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This chapter offers a detailed portrait of the commercial, political and cultural contexts in which bewilderingly plural assemblages of ‘national historical fact’ circulated from the mid-eighteenth century onwards in the form of various ‘national’ histories. Countering and contradicting, in the very process of incorporating and supplementing, one another, these endlessly adaptable histories set out to curate conceptions of modernity that were defined against the very ‘history’ they were constructing. Further, the chapter shows how a recyclable ‘body of national historical factuals’ conditioned the emergence of the ‘historified fiction’ of the novel in the period.

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