By Jan Assmann

Now on hand to an English-speaking viewers, this booklet provides a groundbreaking theoretical research of reminiscence, id, and tradition. It investigates how cultures have in mind, arguing that human reminiscence exists and is communicated in methods, particularly inter-human interplay and in exterior platforms of notation, resembling writing, that could span generations. Dr. Assmann defines theoretical strategies of cultural reminiscence, differentiating among the long term reminiscence of societies, that can span as much as 3,000 years, and communicative reminiscence, that's ordinarily limited to 80-100 years. He applies this theoretical framework to case experiences of 4 particular cultures, illustrating the functionality contexts and particular achievements, together with the country, foreign legislations, faith, and technological know-how. eventually, his examine demonstrates that reminiscence isn't easily a way of holding info, yet particularly a strength that could form cultural identification and make allowance cultures to reply creatively to either day-by-day demanding situations and catastrophic adjustments.

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Extra resources for Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination

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38 It is also astonishing for us today that he never systematically or coherently considered the vital role played by writing in the compilation of collective memories. ” What fascinated him, and many of his contemporaries, was a sociology that was supposed to explore the secret of a living connection with a temps v´ecu (in contrast to a temps conc¸u and a dur´ee artificielle). Of course all this points toward Nietzsche, and therefore it is all the more surprising that the name is scarcely ever mentioned (apart from in a totally different context, On Collective Memory, 120).

There are three functions that must be performed in order to fulfill the necessary tasks of creating unity and guiding action: storage, retrieval, and communication – or poetic form, ritual performance, and collective participation.

Schmidt, see n. 63). Unlike the art of memory that was a classical invention – albeit not exclusive to the West – memory culture is universal. It is virtually impossible to think of any social group where it is not to be found, in no matter how weak a form. That is why its history cannot be written in the way Frances Yates was able to deal with the art of memory. It is only possible to highlight some generic features that can be illustrated by recourse to some examples chosen arbitrarily. However, just as the Greeks occupy a special place in the field of classical ars memoriae, there is one nation that stands out in the history of memory culture – despite its universality – namely, the Israelites.

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