The Rise of Heritage: Preserving the Past in France, Germany and England, 1789-1914

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Where does our fascination for 'heritage' originate? This groundbreaking comparative study of preservation in France, Germany and England looks beyond national borders to reveal how the idea of heritage emerged from intense competition and collaboration in a global context. Astrid Swenson follows the 'heritage-makers' from the French Revolution to the First World War, revealing the importance of global networks driving developments in each country. Drawing on documentary, literary and visual sources, the book connects high politics and daily life and uncovers how, through travel, correspondence, world fairs and international congresses, the preservationists exchanged ideas, helped each other campaign and dreamed of establishing international institutions for the protection of heritage. Yet, these heritage-makers were also animated by fierce rivalry as international tension grew. This mixture of international collaboration and competition created the European culture of heritage, which defined preservation as integral to modernity, and still shapes current institutions and debates.