Nationalism and biographical transformation: the case of Boudicca

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Abstract

If the purpose of nationalist historiography is to construct a past worthy of the present and future then the role of heroic individuals in the course of key historical events and developments and the construction of suitable biographies to support the narrative is essential to the purpose. Episodes of warfare very often provide the most heroic figures, bolstering national imagery and myth with tales of renown as well as introducing a personal life-story element that not only anchors the individual’s biography in a suitable national past but also personalises it in a way that a mere retelling of events cannot. Images of Boudicca, the renowned ‘warrior queen’ who led an army against the might of imperial Rome in Iron-Age Britain, have been deployed in modern nationalist projects from Victorian times through to more recent times. Not surprisingly, the same images have sometimes been used in feminist struggles for liberation of a different kind.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)101-120
Number of pages20
JournalHumanities research
Volume19
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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