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Modernising The Past: The Life Of The Gauls Under The French Republic

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Chapter Summary

Heritage Days are among the recently developed European traditions. This chapter begins by citing two examples taken from recent public life in France which correspond to the main uses of past in European modernity. The modern history of the ancestors of the French - that is, the Gauls - can be taken as an illustration of the modernisation of the Past. Representations of the Gallic culture were directly inspired by Ossianism. But progressively, a specific Gallic culture took shape under the influence of historical research and the evolution of the French nation. The conception of the Gauls was changing. The process of nation building needed a new approach to the origins of the nation. The French story of the Gauls illustrates how the modernisation of the past intertwined scholarly work and cultural fabrication by writers and artists.

Keywords: French Republic; Gauls; modernisation



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