Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present / Edition 1

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Acts of Memory presents 15 tightly integrated essays that illustrate the active role of individual and cultural memory in tying the past to the present. Memory, or memorialization, is a cultural activity occurring in the present that offers history another kind of source or document; one that provides insights into the past as it lives on today. The authors, in fields ranging from philosophy and history through literature and media studies, illustrate how memory serves many purposes, between conscious recall and unreflected re-emergence, between nostalgic longing for what is lost to polemical use of the past to reshape the present. Their essays coalesce around three topics: the need for memory and testimonial facilitation of memory, primarily in the case of historical and individual trauma; the site-specific nature of acts of memory, especially in geopolitically conflicted situations; and the potential contributions of acts of memory when facing the difficulties and needs of the present. "Neither remnant, document, nor relic of the past, nor floating in a present cut off from the past, cultural memory, for better or worse, binds the past to the present and future. It is that process of binding that we explore in this volume" writes Mieke Bal.

CONTRIBUTORS: Carol B. Bardenstein, Susan J. Brison, Ann Burlein, Katharine Conley, Lessie Jo Frazier, Gerd Gem√ľnden, Marianne Hirsch, Andreas Huyssen, Irene Kacandes, Mary Kelley, Marita Sturken, Ernst van Alphen, and the editors

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What People Are Saying

Geoffrey Hartman
Contains many useful and very timely essays on the importance of public and cultural memory. Its range from Germany and the U.S. to Israel and Chile should commend it to an international audience.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780874518894
  • Publisher: Dartmouth College Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/1998
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 268
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

MIEKE BAL is Professor of Theory of Literature, University of Amsterdam and author of Double Exposures: The Subject of Cultural Analysis (1996). JONATHAN CREWE is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at Dartmouth College and author of Trials of Authorship (1990). LEO SPITZER is Kathe Tappe Vernon Professor of History at Dartmouth and author of Hotel Bolivia: The Culture of Memory in a Refuge from Nazism (1998).

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Table of Contents

I Helpful Memories
Projected Memory: Holocaust Photographs in Personal and Public Fantasy 3
Symptoms of Discursivity: Experience, Memory, and Trauma 24
Trauma Narratives and the Remaking of the Self 39
Narrative Witnessing as Memory Work: Reading Gertrud Kolmar's A Jewish Mother 55
II Dispersed Memories
Recalling Adamastor: Literature as Cultural Memory in "White" South Africa 75
Back Through the Future: Nostalgic Memory and Critical Memory in a Refuge from Nazism 87
"Subverted Memories": Countermourning as Political Action in Chile 105
Nostalgia for the Nation: Intellectuals and National Identity in Unified Germany 120
The Myth of the "Dernier poeme": Robert Desnos and French Cultural Memory 134
Trees, Forests, and the Shaping of Palestinian and Israeli Collective Memory 148
III Memories for the Present
Memories in the Museum: Preposterous Histories for Today 171
Monumental Seduction 191
Countermemory on the Right: The Case of Focus on the Family 208
Making Memory: Designs of the Present on the Past 218
Narratives of Recovery: Repressed Memory as Cultural Memory 231
List of Contributors 249
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