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Look Inside Cultural Memory and Western Civilization

Cultural Memory and Western Civilization
Functions, Media, Archives

  • Date Published: November 2011
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521165877

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About the Authors
  • Cultures invest great efforts into creating a long-term memory on the basis of oral transmission, media technology, and institutional frameworks. This book provides an introduction to the concept of cultural memory, focusing on the “arts” of its construction, particularly various media such as writing, images, bodily practices, places, and monuments. Examining the period from the European Renaissance to the present, Aleida Assmann reveals the close association between cultural memory and the arts, arguing that the artists who have supplemented, criticized, transformed, and opposed it are its most lucid theorists and acute observers. Her analysis also addresses the interaction of cultural memory with individual memory and the ways in which cultural memory supports or subverts social and political identity constructions. Ultimately, this book offers a comprehensive overview of the history, forms, and functions of cultural memory, which has become a central analytical tool for scholars across disciplines.

    • Provides an introduction to the concept of cultural memory
    • Makes available for the first time in English a key text in the field of cultural memory
    • Truly interdisciplinary work that should be of interest to historians, literary scholars and philosophers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    “Aleida Assmann brings startling originality, brilliant explanation, and conceptual rigor to the difficult and sprawling terrain of memory. This is a classic, pathbreaking work to which readers will remain long indebted.” – Peter Fritzsche, University of Illinois

    "This is a pathbreaking study of a category that now is commonplace in both undergraduate and graduate studies in the humanities and social sciences. Until now, there has been nothing like it available in English. It is essential reading to understand why memory has displaced class, race, and gender as the signature category of our generation." – Jay Winter, Yale University

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2011
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521165877
    • length: 424 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 24 mm
    • weight: 0.62kg
    • contains: 14 b/w illus.
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction
    Part I. Functions:
    1. Memory as ars and vis
    2. THE sECULARIZATION oF mEMORY - MEMORIA, FAMA, HISTORIA
    3. The battle of memories in Shakespeare's histories
    4. Wordsworth and the wound of time
    5. Memory boxes
    6. Function and storage: two modes of memory
    Part II. Media:
    7. Metaphors, models, and media of memory
    8. Writing
    9. Image
    10. Body
    11. Places
    Part III. Storage:
    12. Archives
    13. Permanence, decay, residue - problems of conversation and the ecology of culture
    14. Memory simulations in the wasteland of forgetfulness - installations by modern artists
    15. Memory as 'leidschatz'
    16. Beyond the archive
    17. Conclusion: the arts of memory.

  • Author

    Aleida Assmann, Universität Konstanz, Germany
    Aleida Assmann is a Professor of English Literature and Literary Theory in the Department of Literature, Art and Media at the University of Konstanz in Germany. She has also been a guest lecturer at universities including Rice, Princeton, Yale, and the University of Chicago. She is the author of several German-language books and has received international recognition for her scholarship, including the Max-Planck-Research Prize for History and Memory in 2009 and an Honorary Doctorate from the Theological Faculty at the University of Oslo in 2008.

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