The Memory of the Modern
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The Memory of the Modern

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A multidisciplinary work, Memory of the Modern examines stock markets, tango dancers, vagabond murderers, neurology, monument destruction, and colonial policies to document how individuals and institutions shaped memory in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Wonderfully written, the book studies these diverse "memory-sites" to show how memory and history are fought over, shaped, and put to personal and ideological use.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 262 pages
  • 160.5 x 236.7 x 22.6mm | 594.22g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New
  • halftones
  • 019509364X
  • 9780195093643

Review quote

Matsuda's conceptual approach opens fresh ways of seeing the importance of writing and the democratized print culture of the late nineteenth century. It also casts new light of understanding on the expansion of state records and files (the memory of state). And he fruitfully brings his framework to bear on the functions of such new "memory machines" as photography and cinema.. * Journal of social history * Matsuda's conceptual approach opens fresh ways of seeing the importance of writing and the democratized print culture of the late nineteenth century. It also casts new light of understanding on the expansion of state records and files (the memory of state"). And he fruitfully brings his framework to bear on the functions of such new "memory machines" as photography and cinema.. * Journal of Social History *show more

Back cover copy

Memory has a history. The Classical world ordered and valued events differently than the Medieval world; which, in turn, was replaced by "the memory" of the Renaissance. Matt Matsuda's compelling, multidisciplinary argument in The Memory of the Modern is that the understanding, value, and uses of memory changed yet again at the end of the nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth centuries, becoming distinctively "modern". Matsuda proves his argument by visiting a remarkable array of "memory-sites": the destruction of a monument to Napoleon during the 1871 Paris Commune; the frantic selling of futures on the Paris stock-exchange; the state's forensic search for a vagabond rapist and murderer; a child's perjured testimony on the witness stand; a scientist's dissecting of the human brain; the invention of cameras and the cinema. Each chapter studies a distinct moment when new representations of the past were forged, contested, and put to cultural and ideological use. And all these diverse events cohere as Matsuda repeatedly shows which "memories" were celebrated and which forgotten, which traditions invented and appropriated and which discarded. More importantly, he explains why, and in doing so answers the broader question, Who controls what is remembered and who is believed?show more

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