How much do the English really care about this stately homes? In this path-breaking and wide-ranging account of the changing fortunes and status of the stately homes of England over the past two centuries, Peter Mandler melds social, cultural, artistic and political perspectives and reveals much about the relationship of the nation to its past and its traditional ruling elite. Challenging the prevailing view of a modern English culture besotted with its history and its aristocracy, Mandler portrays instead a continuously changing and modernizing society in which both popular and intellectual attitudes towards the aristocracy - and its stately homes - have veered from selective appreciation to outright hostility, and only recently to thoroughgoing admiration. With great panache, Mandler adds the missing pieces to the story of the country house. Going beyond its architects and its owners, he brings to centre stage a much wider cast of characters - aristocratic entrepreneurs, anti-aristocratic politicians, campaigning conservationists, ordinary sightseers, and votersand a scenario full of incident and of local and national colour. He traces attitudes towards stately homes, beginning in the first half of the nineteenth century when public feeling about the aristocracy was mixed and divided, and criticism of the 'foreign' and 'exclusive' image of the aristocratic country house was widespread. At the same time, interest grew in those older houses that symbolized an olden time of imagined national harmony. The Victorian period saw also the first mass tourist industry, and a strong popular demand emerged for the right to visit all the stately homes. By the 1880s, however, hostility towards the aristocracy made appreciation of any country house politically treacherous, and interest in aristocratic heritage declined steadily for sixty years. Only after 1945, when the aristocracy was no longer seen as a threat, was a gentle revival of the stately homes possible, Mandler contends, and only since the 1970s has that revival become a triumphant appreciation. He enters the current debate with a discussion of how far people today - and tomorrow - are willing to see the aristocracy's heritage as their own.Challenging the prevailing view of a modern English culture besotted with its history and aristocracy, Mandler portrays instead a continuously changing society where both intellectual and popular attitudes have only recently turned to ...
|Title||:||The Fall and Rise of the Stately Home|
|Publisher||:||Yale University Press - 1999-05-01|