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Literature and Cultural Memory. Cultural Memory How we create an image of the past, How we make sense of our past from our present, How we understand.

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Presentation on theme: "Literature and Cultural Memory. Cultural Memory How we create an image of the past, How we make sense of our past from our present, How we understand."— Presentation transcript:

1 Literature and Cultural Memory

2 Cultural Memory How we create an image of the past, How we make sense of our past from our present, How we understand ourselves and our past, What stories we tell to ourselves about ourselves, What we choose to remember or forget, How we explain the reasons why we remember or forget something, How we make sure that we hand over the memories that matter to us

3 Cultural Memory as a concept introduced to the archaeological disciplines by Jan Assmann Assman’s definition: the "outer dimension of human memory" "memory culture“ (Erinnerungskultur) "reference to the past“ (Vergangenheitsbezug) https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/holtorf/2.0.html

4 "memory culture" the way a society ensures cultural continuity by preserving, with the help of cultural mnemonics, its collective knowledge from one generation to the next, rendering it possible for later generations to reconstruct their cultural identity. identity https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/holtorf/2.0.html

5 "reference to the past" reassure the members of a society of their collective identity and supply them with an awareness of their unity and singularity in time and space—i.e. an historical consciousness—by creating a shared past creating a shared past can involve rituals and ceremonies at special occasions such as commemoration days, and at special places such as ancient monuments, which function as timemarks and sites of memorytimemarkssites of memory https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/holtorf/2.0.html

6 Forms of Cultural Memory Formal – institutional – private – personal History Schools, subjects, syllabi, exams Religion Holidays (public, national, religious, private rituals) Anecdotes Memoires Controversial, minority views, counter-narratives

7 Cultural Memory and Literature Literary works – popular, canonical History of literature - of a language - of a nation Representation of a literature or culture in another literature or culture: stereotypes popular image history of their literature

8 Cultural Memory at DES, SEAS British Literature in the Hungarian Cultural Memory project at the Department of English Studies, dir. Prof. Ágnes Péter Cultural Memory and Literature An international conference (24–25 Sept, 2010)

9 Literatures in English Postcolonial Studies explores the various facets—textual, figural, spatial, historical, political and economic—of the colonial encounter, and the ways in which this encounter shaped the West and non-West alike investigations from many disciplines, as well as a theoretical perspective from which to view a variety of concerns

10 Literatures in English English literary texts representing other cultures – the living conscience and public depository of the cultural memories of the world, telling the story, incorporating the way of thinking, and mirroring the language of other cultures?

11 Some examples Salman Rushdie, Midnight's Children (1981), key events in the history of India Kazuo Ishiguro, A Pale View of Hills (1982), narrated by a Japanese widow living in England Keri Hulme, The Bone People (1984) Maori, Celtic and Norse mythology Tibor Fischer, Under the Frog (1992), the 1950s and 1956 in Hungary Panos Karnezis, The Maze (2004), a novel set in Anatolia in 1922.


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