May 6, 2008 1:06 AM Subscribe
When was the past better than the present? I'd like to know the word or phrase that describes the romanticism people have of the past, e.g. "In those days, children respected their elders!". I was watching the documentary Born Rich and Cody Franchetti mentions that the encyclopedia was better in the early 20th century. Why? This feeling that "old ways are better" is not exactly nostalgia, because often people expressing this sentiment didn't actually grow up in this utopian past. But their feelings toward this time are exactly like nostalgia.
posted by Monochrome to Writing & Language (16 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
My memory may be failing me, but I recall learning in history class that people during the Renaissance had this love of all things ancient. Where did they get such an idea? It seems the opposite of the idea of "progress", which I associate with the Victorians, yet also associate with Enlightenment ideals which were born out of the Renaissance. Via searching Wikipedia, I find that this is the antithesis of "chronological snobbery
". So what is it called?
Also, why is it prevalent? It's easier for me to understand the assumption inherent in Victorian's progressive ideas: we learn from the past's mistakes, so we don't make the same mistakes. But how does one intuitively decide that the present is decaying?