Texture of Memory – James E Young – Intro

pg 2 – The matrix of a nation’s monuments emplots the story of ennobling events, of triumph over barbarism, and recalls the martyrdom of those who gave their lives in the struggle for national existence – who , in martyrological refrain, died so that a country could live. in assuming the idealised forms and meanings assigned this era by the state, memorials tend to concretized particular historical interpretations.

pg 3 – IN some cases, memorials created i the image of a state’s ideals actually turn around to recast these ideals in the memorials own image. New generation visit memorials under new circumstances and invest them with new meanings. The result is an evolution in the memorials significance, generated in the new times and company in which it finds itself.

pg 3 – Arthur Danto has written that “we erect monuments so that we shall always remember and build memorials so that we shall never forgot. Monuments commemorate the memorable and embody the myths of beginnings. Memorials ritualized remembrance and mark the reality of ends..”

pg 5 – German historian Martin Broszat had suggested that in their references to the fascist era, monuments may not remember events so much as bury them altogether beneath layers of national myth and explanations.

pg 5- [in reference to memory] take leave of them and return only at our convenience. To the extent that we encourage monuments to do our memory-work for us, we become that much more forgetful.

pg 6-7 – Places where they tell the constitutive narrative, their “shared” stories of the past. They become communities precisely by having shared (if only vicariously) the experiences of their neighbors. [people have shared memories when in fact its memories that they have been told that binds them together]

pg 9 – For many survivors believe that the searing reality of their experiences demands as literal a memorial expression as possible. “we weren’t tortured and our families weren’t murdered in the abstract, ” the survivors complained, “it was real”

pg 15 – It is not enough to ask whether or not our memorials remember the Holocaust, or even how they remember it, We should also ask to what ends we have remembered. That is, how do we respond to the current moment in light of our remembered past… for we were to leave unexplored their genesis and remain unchanged by the recollective act, it could be said that we have not remembered at all.


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