‘Can you tell me where my country lies?’: Re-membering, Re-presenting the Forgotten

  • Julian Wolfreys


Memory texts present ghostly counter-signatures of place and identity, subjectivity in relation to locus, to forms and expressions of the official and sanctioned historical memory. Ever since the invention by an advertising executive of the ‘ploughman’s lunch’, the rural has, in contemporary literature and culture, in the arts and the popular psyche, been a never–never land, a nostalgic locus of idyll and desire. The question of phenomenological haunting and affect is explored in the first part of this chapter through a return to Hardy, and also consideration of traditional song, the work of Mary Butts, John Cowper Powys, possibly the UK’s most exported TV series, Midsomer Murders, and Virginia Woolf. In the second half of the chapter, I provide a reading of particular rural strands in English popular music of the second half of the 1960s and the first half of the 1970s, particularly those belonging to the loose affiliations of what was called either psychedelic or progressive music. Through their lyrics, and imagery such bands tapped into a darker rural world of the past, with not a little contemporary criticism and satire, employing the forgotten past as a place to haunt the truisms of the present.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julian Wolfreys
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PortsmouthBembridgeUK

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