The Memory of the Modern / Edition 1

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Overview

Memory has a history. The Classical world ordered and valued events differently than the Medieval world; which, in turn, was replaced by "the memory" of the Renaissance. Matt Matsuda's compelling, multidisciplinary argument in The Memory of the Modern is that the understanding, value, and uses of memory changed yet again at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, becoming distinctively "modern." Matsuda proves his argument by visiting a remarkable array of "memory-sites": the destruction of a monument to Napoleon during the 1871 Paris Commune; the frantic selling of futures on the Paris stock-exchange; the state's forensic search for a vagabond rapist and murderer; a child's perjured testimony on the witness stand; a scientist's dissecting of the human brain; the invention of cameras and the cinema. Each chapter studies a distinct moment when new representations of the past were forged, contested, and put to cultural and ideological use. And all these diverse events cohere as Matsuda repeatedly shows which "memories" were celebrated and which forgotten, which traditions invented and appropriated and which discarded. More importantly, he explains why, and in doing so answers the broader question, Who controls what is remembered and who is believed?
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"...enchantingly evocative and intellectually challenging....Matsuda'a masterpiece is destined to help us comprehend our present by helping us apprehend our past."--xxxxx

"Matsuda's conceptual approach opens fresh ways of seeing the importance of writing and the democratized print culture of the late nineteenth century. It also casts new light of understanding on the expansion of state records and files (the "memory of state"). And he fruitfully brings his framework to bear on the functions of such new "memory machines" as photography and cinema."--journal of social history

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195093650
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 5/28/1996
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 264
  • Product dimensions: 9.25 (w) x 6.13 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Histories: The Philosophy of Today 3
1 Monuments: Idols of the Emperor 19
2 Numbers: The Temple of Time 41
3 Words: The Grammar of History 61
4 Bodies: The Third Convolution 79
5 Testimonies: Deserving of Faith 101
6 Identities: Doctor, Judge, Vagabond 121
7 Distances: In the Revolutionary Garden 143
8 Spectacles: Machineries of Magic 165
9 Desires: Last Tango at the Academie 185
Afterword: Memories: The History of the Present 205
Notes 209
Index 243
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