History Repeating Itself. The function of turning points and continuity in three historical narratives on operetta


  • Mikael Strömberg University of Gothenburg




Operetta, historiography, postnarrativity, turning points, continuity


The article’s primary aim is to discuss the function of turning points and continuity within historiography. That a historical narrative, produced at a certain time and place, influence the way the historian shapes and develops the argument is problematized by an emphasis on the complex relationship between turning points and continuity as colligatory concepts within an argumentative framework. Aided by a number of examples from three historical narratives on operetta, the article stresses the importance of creating new narratives about the past. Two specific examples from the history of operetta, the birth of the genre and the role of music, are used to illustrate the need to revise not only the use of source material and the narrative strategy used, but also how the argument proposed by the historian gathers strength. The interpretation of turning points and continuity as colligatory concepts illustrate the need to revise earlier historical narratives when trying to counteract the repetitiveness of history.

Author Biography

Mikael Strömberg, University of Gothenburg

Mikael Strömberg is a researcher in performance studies at the University of Gothenburg. He works in the field of research on popular entertainment, entertainment as communication, and Swedish outdoor theatre during the twentieth century.


Ankersmit, Frank. 2017. “Forum Debate on Jouni-Matti Kuukkanen’s Postnarrativist Philosophy of Historiography”. Journal of the Philosophy of History 11:1, 1-10, DOI: 10.1163/18722636-12341360.

Bergman, Gösta M. 1966. Den moderna teaterns genombrott 1890-1925. Stockholm: Bonnier.

Canning, Charlotte & Postlewait, Thomas (eds.). 2010. Representing the past: essays in performance historiography. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press.

Haslum, Bengt. 1971. Operett och musical: en kavalkad i ord och bild från Offenbach till vår tids musical. Stockholm: Sveriges radio.

Kuukkanen, Jouni-Matti. 2015. Postnarrativist philosophy of historiography. New York: Palgrave.

Kuukkanen, Jouni-Matti. 2015. “Why we need to move from truth-functionality to performativity in historiography”. History and Theory 54:2, 226-243, DOI: 10.1111/hith.10755.

Lamb, Andrew. 2000. 150 years of popular musical theatre. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press.

Postlewait, Thomas. 1991. “Historiography and the Theatrical Event: A Primer with Twelve Cruxes”. Theatre Journal 43:2, 157-178.

Shaw, Ryan Benjamin. 2010. Events and Periods as Concepts for Organizing Historical Knowledge. UC Berkeley: Information Management & Systems. Retrieved from: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/4111f1fw.

Traubner, Richard. 1990. Operetta: a theatrical history, [New ed.]. Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press.




How to Cite

Strömberg, M. (2018). History Repeating Itself. The function of turning points and continuity in three historical narratives on operetta. Nordic Theatre Studies, 29(1), 102–116. https://doi.org/10.7146/nts.v29i1.103311