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David Lowenthal at 90

Preparing new edition of The Past is a Foreign Country

David Lowenthal at 90

UCL Emeritus Professor David Lowenthal reached 90 on 26th April. Undaunted, he is currently in California working on the proofs of a new edition of his 1985 classic, The Past is a Foreign Country.

In this he revisits how we celebrate, expunge, contest and domesticate the past to serve present needs. Nostalgia and heritage now pervade every facet of public and popular culture, embracing nature and the cosmos as well as humanity. He argues that empathy, re-enactment, memory and commemoration increasingly overwhelm traditional history. The past, once certified by experts and reliant on written texts, has become a fragmented, contested history forged by us all.

David plans to return to the UK in June, not only to re-enter these debates about heritage, following his conversation with Sir Simon Jenkins at the British Academy in June 2011, but also to pursue other interests, including supporting the Sark opposition to constitutional change and proposed developments.

For a video of his seminar at Cambridge last year on The State of Heritage, see:


David Lowenthal