Idealized Nationalism in Downton Abbey

A study of the Identity of Englishness in Heritage Film

  • Christa Rydeberg Aakjær Department of English, Aarhus University
Keywords: national identity, Englishness, heritage film, Downton Abbey, cultural memory, nostalgia, History, Society and Culture 2: British and Irish History


With the Downton Abbey series as a starting point, this study examines how fictional media is a new source of renegotiating national identity, in this case Englishness. A close analysis of Downton Abbey and similar cultural phenomena shows how heritage film modify and idealize certain aspects and values of history to alter and ultimately rewrite the memory of history. Different definitions of nationalism and identity are explored to lay the basis of a discussion of why Downton Abbey appeared when it did and how fictional productions of history and culture might key to the recreation of contemporary cultural identity. Thus, this article will reveal the connection between the popularity of heritage productions and their impact on the cultivation of cultural identities and national sentiments.

How to Cite
Aakjær, C. (2018). Idealized Nationalism in Downton Abbey. Leviathan: Interdisciplinary Journal in English, (3), 6-17.