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A Primer for Forgetting

Getting Past the Past
Hardcover Book
Publisher: 
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
 | 
June, 2019
ISBN:
9780374237219
In stock now: 
3
$38.00 CAD
Banyen's Description: 

Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Trickster Makes This World, offers a playful and inspiring defense of forgetfulness by exploring the healing effect it can have on the human psyche.

We live in a culture that prizes memory—how much we can store, the quality of what’s preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness were seen not as something to fear—be it in the form of illness or simple absentmindedness—but rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and rebirth?

A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism. It forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a creative and political force. It also turns inward, using the authors own life and memory as a canvas upon which to extol the virtues of a concept too long taken as an evil.

What a relief to make a book whose free associations are happily foregrounded, a book that does not so much argue its point of departure as more simply sketch the territory I have been exploring, a book that I hope will both invite and provoke a reader’s own free reflections.

Drawing material from Hesiod to Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bishop to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from myths and legends to very real and recent traumas both personal and historical, A Primer for Forgetting is a unique and remarkable synthesis.

Aphorisms:

To study the self is to forget the self.

 

Every act of memory is an act of forgetting.

In forgetting lies the liquefaction of time.

We dream in order to forget.

Of the curious images in the book:

I was led to invent my own imaginary Museum of Forgetting and to stock it with works of art, each accompanied by explanatory wall text.

Publisher’s Description: 

One of our true superstars of nonfiction (David Foster Wallace), Lewis Hyde, author of The Gift and Trickster Makes This World, offers a playful and inspiring defense of forgetfulness by exploring the healing effect it can have on the human psyche.

We live in a culture that prizes memoryhow much we can store, the quality of whats preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness were seen not as something to fearbe it in the form of illness or simple absentmindednessbut rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and rebirth?

A Primer for Forgetting is a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism by the author of the classics The Gift and Trickster Makes This World. It forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a creative and political force. It also turns inward, using the authors own life and memory as a canvas upon which to extol the virtues of a concept too long taken as an evil.

Drawing material from Hesiod to Jorge Luis Borges to Elizabeth Bishop to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from myths and legends to very real and recent traumas both personal and historical, A Primer for Forgetting is a unique and remarkable synthesis that only Lewis Hyde could have produced.

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