Gavin Stamp

Airbrushing the Past

The Ministry of Nostalgia

By

Verso 218pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

‘Keep Calm and Carry On.’ Set in sans-serif lettering with a royal crown above it, this Second World War slogan, or variations on the theme, now regularly appears on tea towels, mugs and fridge magnets. Its ubiquity has provoked Owen Hatherley into writing The Ministry of Nostalgia, half modern history and half angry rant. He believes that ‘our past is being resold in order to defend the indefensible’ and that this involves ‘the creation of a false history: a rewriting of the austerity of the 1940s and 1950s … This period has been recast to explain and offer consolation for the violence of neoliberalism, an ideology dedicated to the privatisation of our common wealth.’ In other words, the unnecessary, ideology-driven austerity of today is being camouflaged with nostalgia.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • What a charming, candid blogpost from one of our dear contributing editors. ,
    • RT : The first guess from one of my 1st graders was “death” and such an awed, somber, reflective hush fell over the clas… ,
    • Merry Christmas from Literary Review! Hope your stockings were laden with books, and the tree bending under the weight of further books....,
    • Last minute Christmas gift required? We're offering discounts on all our subscriptions (20% no less!) with the cod… ,
    • In this issue's 'Silenced Voices', Lucy Popescu writes of Thailand's restrictive lese-majesty laws and their latest… ,
    • "Gunn was a disciple of the American formalist Yvor Winters, but Winters’s poetry could never give off such a scent… ,
    • Christmas gift hunting? Why not give the gift of being even better read? We're offering discounts on all our subscr… ,