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Trafalgar and Waterloo: metamorphoses of French historical memory

Zemtzov Vladimir, Postnikova Alyona

he article attempts, on the basis of an extensive documentary base including historical works, periodical printing, memoiristics and diplomatic correspondence, to trace the evolution of French perception of two lost battles with Britain - Trafalgar and Waterloo - in the historical memory of the nation. Various ways of "healing" historical trauma are revealed, factors affecting the activation of memory of the national tragedy are revealed. The authors conclude that despite examples of "memorial compromises," most often due to changes in the pan-European situation, there is no complete "memory reformatting." The temporary harmonization of relations with the "historical enemy" has almost always been replaced by an outbreak of "hostile memory" as the global situation changes or tensions with Britain increase.

Keywords: Trafalgar, Waterloo, historical memory, memory reformatting, French-British relations
Link: Zemtzov V., Postnikova A. Trafalgar and Waterloo: metamorphoses of French historical memory // Annual of French Studies 2020: Wars and Revolutions in Modern Times.М. P. 209-235.

The study is sponsored by the Russian Science Foundation, grant 20-18-00113.