Material Memories

By Marius Kwint; Christopher Breward et al. | Go to book overview
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The Construction of
Civic Memory in
Early Modern Norwich
Victor Morgan
Can we find her there, among the burghers of early modern Norwich? She who was the supposed daughter of Uranus and of Gaia, the Titaness Mnemosyne, the goddess of memory? Yes: in fact I think that it is possible to identify nine not entirely distinct manifestations of both retrospective and prospective civic memory in early modern Norwich.1 This involved:
1. The creation of a distinctly urban memory among the numerous migrants to the city.
2. What we may describe as the cultivation of the corporate lineage, and its further appropriation by individual families within the city who could not, as contemporary mores required, reach back into the past genealogically or often produce the offspring to enable them to reach forward into the future.
3. Closely related to manifestations of the civic lineage was the use of the civic regalia, its augmentation and its display as an instrument of both legitimization and constraint.
4. There is the civic portrait collection: both its inception in this period and the iconography of the portraits.
These categories would seem to constitute ‘modes of representation’, involving complex feedbacks of inputs and outputs: see Whitney Davis, ‘Towards an Archaeology of Thought’, in Ian Hodder (ed.), The Meaning of Things: Material Culture and Symbolic Expression (London, 1989), 202–9.


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Material Memories


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