There is a history in all men’s lives
Reinventing history in 2 Henry IV
in Shakespeare’s histories and counter-histories
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Popular versions of history purveyed by the common folk diverged from historiographical conventions in various ways. The 'old folk' of 2 Henry IV assume the mantle of unofficial historians in their accepted capacity as 'time's doting chronicles'. Pierre Nora's suggestive analysis of the different modes of thought that have shaped modern historical consciousness and 'memory-history' offers a useful schema. This schema may enable to bring into sharper focus the competing models of 'history' at issue in 2 Henry IV. The need to reassess the productive role of memory in generating different forms of historical knowledge is emphasised by its omnipresence in 2 Henry IV. For, like the interest in rumour and prophecy, reinventing the 'times deceased' is a pastime that extends well beyond the lower orders.


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