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In praise of forgetting : historical memory and its ironies

Author: David Rieff
Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, [2016] ©2016
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
"The conventional wisdom about historical memory is summed up in George Santayana’s celebrated phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today, the consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget, is nearly absolute. And yet is this right? David Rieff, an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, insists that things are  Read more...
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Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: David Rieff
ISBN: 0300182791 9780300182798
OCLC Number: 920017514
Description: x, 145 pages ; 22 cm
Contents: Footprints in the sands of time, and all that --
Must we deform the past in order to preserve it? --
What is collective memory actually good for? --
The victory of memory over history --
Forgiveness and forgetting --
The memory of wounds and other safe harbors --
Amor fati --
Against remembrance.
Responsibility: David Rieff.

Abstract:

A leading contrarian thinker explores the ethical paradox at the heart of history's wounds  Read more...

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"David Rieff should be read by those in government and others who are bent on harnessing collective memory for the purposes of national commemoration."-Hew Strachan, Times Literary Supplement -- Hew Read more...

 
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    schema:description ""The conventional wisdom about historical memory is summed up in George Santayana’s celebrated phrase, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Today, the consensus that it is moral to remember, immoral to forget, is nearly absolute. And yet is this right? David Rieff, an independent writer who has reported on bloody conflicts in Africa, the Balkans, and Central Asia, insists that things are not so simple. He poses hard questions about whether remembrance ever truly has, or indeed ever could, “inoculate” the present against repeating the crimes of the past. He argues that rubbing raw historical wounds—whether self-inflicted or imposed by outside forces—neither remedies injustice nor confers reconciliation. If he is right, then historical memory is not a moral imperative but rather a moral option—sometimes called for, sometimes not. Collective remembrance can be toxic. Sometimes, Rieff concludes, it may be more moral to forget. Ranging widely across some of the defining conflicts of modern times—the Irish Troubles and the Easter Uprising of 1916, the white settlement of Australia, the American Civil War, the Balkan wars, the Holocaust, and 9/11—Rieff presents a pellucid examination of the uses and abuses of historical memory. His contentious, brilliant, and elegant essay is an indispensable work of moral philosophy." -- Publisher"@en ;
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