Forgetfulness by Francis O'Gorman
Making the Modern Culture of Amnesia

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...writes with a crisp and elegant, if occasionally high-handed, tone. He explores the role of cultural memory in classical society and the west’s shifting relationship with history across the centuries.
-Guardian

Synopsis

Forgetfulness is a book about modern culture and its profound rejection of the past. It traces the emergence in recent history of the idea that what is important in human life and work is what will happen in the future.

Francis O'Gorman shows how forgetting has been embraced as a requirement for modern existence and how our education, as well as life with fast-moving technology, further disconnects us from our pasts. But he also examines the cultural narratives that urge us to resist our collective amnesia. O'Gorman argues that such narratives, in rich but oblique ways, indicate our guilt about modernity's great unmooring from history.

Forgetfulness asks what the absence of history does to our sense of purpose, as well as what belonging both to time and place might mean in cultures without a memory. It is written in praise of the best achievement and deeds of the past, but is also an expression of profound anxiety about what forgetting them is doing to us.

 

About Francis O'Gorman

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Francis O'Gorman, from English, Irish, and Hungarian families, was born in 1967 and educated as C.S. Deneke Organ Scholar of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford, where he took a double first and a doctorate in English literature. He is the author or editor of 23 books,mostly on English literature, and of essays on literature, music, and the condition of the modern English university. His Worrying: A Literary and Cultural History (Bloomsbury, 2015), described by John Carey as "subtle, exploratory, completely original," was a Guardian "Book of the Week," a Sunday Times "Must Read," and one of Bookbag's "History Books of the Year, 2015." For a decade, Francis O'Gorman held a chair in the School of English at the University of Leeds; he is now Saintsbury Professor of English Literature at the University of Edinburgh. When not working, he likes playing the organ, walking Arthur's Seat, or sitting in a bar.
 
Published October 5, 2017 by Bloomsbury Academic. 201 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Professional & Technical, Science & Math. Non-fiction
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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Natasha Tripney on Sep 24 2017

...writes with a crisp and elegant, if occasionally high-handed, tone. He explores the role of cultural memory in classical society and the west’s shifting relationship with history across the centuries.

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