Synopses & Reviews
This is a book about modern culture and its profound rejection of the past. It charts the emergence in recent history of the idea that what's important in human life and work is what will happen in the future.
Discussing capitalism's embrace of forgetting as a requirement for modern existence, Forgetfulness examines in turn the cultural narratives and preoccupations of the contemporary world that are against the grain of our collective amnesia. It argues that such narratives, in rich but oblique ways, indicate our recognition, as well as our guilt, about modernity's great unmooring from history. By looking at, for instance, autism stories, representations of stroke and dementia, of migration, and of forgotten landscapes and places, Francis O'Gorman probes what he calls our underground cultural conscience. This is the secret store of our anxieties about forgetfulness of each other, ourselves, and our collective pasts.
A bracing, witty examination of modern priorities, Forgetfulness is an account of remembering who, once, we were.
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.