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Theories of Memory

A Reader

Edited by Michael Rossington, Anne Whitehead

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Theories of Memory provides a comprehensive introduction to the rapidly expanding field of memory studies. It is a resource through which students will be able both to broaden their knowledge of contemporary theoretical perspectives and trace the development of ideas about memory from the classical period to the present.

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List of Illustrations
Introduction by Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead
Part I: Beginnings
1 Classical and Early Modern Ideas of Memory, ed. by Jennifer Richards
Introduction by Jennifer Richards
1.1 Plato: from Theaetetus and Phaedrus
1.2 Aristotle: De Memoria et Reminiscentia
1.3 Cicero: from De oratore (On the Ideal Orator)
1.4 [Cicero]: from Ad Herennium
1.5 Mary J. Carruthers: from
1.6 Frances A. Yates: from The Art of Memory
2 Enlightenment and Romantic Memory, ed. by Michael Rossington
Introduction by Michael Rossington
2.1 John Locke: from An Essay Concerning Human Understanding
2.2 David Hume: from A Treatise of Human Nature
2.3 Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel: from Philosophy of Mind, Being Part Three of the Encyclopedia of the Philosophical Sciences
3 Memory and Late Modernity, ed. by Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead
Introduction by Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead
3.1 Karl Marx: The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
3.2 Friedrich Nietzsche: On the Uses and Disadvantages of History for Life
3.3 Henri Bergson: from Matter and Memory
3.4 Sigmund Freud: A Note on the 'Mystic Writing Pad'
3.5 Walter Benjamin: 'On the Image of Proust'
Part II: Positionings
4 Collective Memory, ed. by Michael Rossington
Introduction by Michael Rossington
4.1 Maurice Halbwachs: from The Collective Memory
4.2 Pierre Nora: from Between Memory and History: Les Lieux de Mémoire
4.3 John Frow: from Time and Commodity Culture: Essays in Cultural Theory and Postmodernity
5 Jewish Memory Discourse, ed. by Anne Whitehead
Introduction by Anne Whitehead
5.1 Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi: from Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory
5.2 Jack Kugelmass and Joseph Boyarin: from From a Ruined Garden: The Memorial Books of Polish Jewry
5.3 James E. Young: from The Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning
6 Trauma, ed. by Anne Whitehead
Introduction by Anne Whitehead
6.1 Lawrence Langer: from Memory's Time: Chronology and Duration in Holocaust Testimonies
6.2 Cathy Caruth: from Trauma and Experience
6.3 Dominick LaCapra: from History in Transit: Experience, Identity, Critical Theory
Part III: Identities
7 Gender, ed. by Kate Chedgzoy
Introduction by Kate Chedgzoy
7.1 Anna Reading: from The Social Inheritance of the Holocaust: gender, culture and memory
7.2 Marianne Hirsch and Valerie Smith: from Feminism and Cultural Memory: An Introduction
7.3 Annette Kuhn: from Family Secrets
8 Race/Nation, ed. by Pablo Mukherjee
Introduction by Pablo Mukherjee
8.1 Benedict Anderson: from Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism
8.2 Étienne Balibar: from Reflections on 'The Nation Form': History and Ideology
8.3 Paul Gilroy: from There Ain't No Black in the Union Jack
9 Diaspora, ed. by Linda Anderson
Introduction by Linda Anderson
9.1 Victor Burgin: from In/Different Spaces: Place and Memory in Visual Culture
9.2 Avtar Brah: fromCartographies of Diaspora: Contesting Identities
9.3 Edward Said: from Out of Place
Biographical Details of Editors and Contributing Editors

About the Author

Michael Rossington is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne. He has published mainly on the writings of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Shelley. He is currently working on his contribution to The Poems of Shelley, Vol. 3, to be published by Longman. Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead co-edited Between the Psyche and the Polis: Refiguring history in literature and theory (Ashgate 2000).

Anne Whitehead is Senior Lecturer in Modern and Contemporary Literature at Newcastle University, UK. She is the author of Trauma Fiction (Edinburgh, 2004) and Memory: New Critical Idiom (Routledge, 2009). She has co-edited The Edinburgh Companion to the Critical Medical Humanities (Edinburgh, 2016), Theories of Memory: A Reader (Edinburgh, 2007) and W. G. Sebald: A Critical Companion (Edinburgh, 2004), as well as a special issue of Feminist Theory on feminism and affect. She has published articles on contemporary literature in a range of journals, including Modern Fiction Studies, Textual Practice, and Contemporary Literature.


This collection provides an extensive historical and theoretical framework for the study of memory. It traces the exciting history of the philosophical problematization of memory as well as its insistent and urgent demand to be recognized and defined.
- Cathy Caruth, Winship Distinguished Research Professor of Comparative Literature and English, Emory University
This Reader does a superb job in defining and presenting some of the most interesting work currently being done on the forms and the uses of personal and historical memory.
- Professor John Frow, University of Melbourne