National identities, like nations themselves, have complex and troubled histories. In the case of the British nation, history and identity are not a simple matter of a progression through political consolidation, industrialization, and imperialism, but involve narratives of displacement, alterities, dislocation, and abiding conflict. The essays in this book trace the remnant presences of these conflicts and, in the process, revisit the notion of the modern nation. With decolonization, nations in the former Commonwealth inevitably inherit the political and cultural problematics of the former colonial master. In this case, modernity is as much a matter of cultural amnesia and sublimation as it is of progress and reinvention.