Wallstein Verlag

Aleida Assmann

Forms of Forgetting

224 pages, 12 x 20
ISBN: 978-3-8353-1856-4 (2016)


German Version

Forgetting as a filter, as a weapon and as a prerequisite for the creation of new things.

Amidst our prevailing concern with the topic of remembrance today, we appear to have forgotten how to forget. Although in fact it is forgetting, not remembering, that is the fundamental mode of human and social life. Generally, remembering implies an exception, making an effort, rebelling against time and the normal course of events. Just as cells are replaced in an organism, objects, ideas and individuals are periodically replaced in society. Forgetting happens silently, unspectacularly. Remembering, on the other hand, is the unlikely exception, subject to certain conditions. However, remembering and forgetting are not mutually exclusive concepts: in order to remember something, many other things must be forgotten, both on an individual and on a collective level.
Aleida Assmann examines collective forms of forgetting in social, political and cultural contexts – culminating in the question of the impossibility of forgetting on the internet.

Aleida Assmann, born in 1947, is an emeritus professor of English and cultural studies. She taught English and general literary studies at the University of Constance, and took part in fellowship programmes at the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin and the Aby Warburg House in Hamburg. She worked as a guest professor at the Universities of Rice, Princeton, Yale, Chicago and Vienna. Publications include: Im Dickicht der Zeichen (In the Labyrinth of Signs, 2015); Der lange Schatten der Vergangenheit (The Long Shadow of the Past, 2014); Das neue Unbehagen an der Erinnerungskultur (The New Unease towards the Culture of Remembrance, 2013); Ist die Zeit aus den Fugen? Aufstieg und Niedergang des Zeitregimes der Moderne (Has Time lost its Equilibrium? Rise and Fall of the Time Regime in Modernity, 2013); Erinnerungsräume. Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses (Spaces of Remembrance. Forms and Changes in Cultural Memory, 2011)
Rights soldItalian: Società editrice il Mulino
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