Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present

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Mieke Bal, Jonathan V. Crewe, Leo Spitzer
UPNE, 1999 - Social Science - 250 pages
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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 nden, Marianne Hirsch, Andreas Huyssen, Irene Kacandes, Mary Kelley, Marita Sturken, Ernst van Alphen, and the editors

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SUSAN J BRISON Trauma Narratives and the Remaking
Literature as Cultural
CAROL B BARD EN STEIN Trees Forests and the Shaping
Preposterous Histories
ANDREAS HUYSSEN Monumental Seduction
The Case of Focus
Repressed Memory
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About the author (1999)

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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