By Susan Engel
Beginning with memory's so much intimate setting--an trade among a mom and a small child--Engel explores memory's functionality in such different situations as an ordeal, a remedy consultation, the development of our public personality, and the formula of an autobiography. mixing brilliant anecdotes with the startling findings of reminiscence examine, Engel examines the consequences of context and goal for reminiscence, together with one's motivation to recollect and the power or caliber of the reminiscence itself. She lines the trajectory of a reminiscence from the instant of notion within the brain, via its social recognition, and again to the landlord, settling in his or her repertoire of the prior. and he or she appears at reminiscence as fodder for history--what is the foundation for what we all know and move on?
Beautifully written and choked with clean insights on such contested matters as recovered reminiscence and remembered testimony, Context Is Everything is either an informative and interesting learn.
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Extra resources for Context is everything : the nature of memory
In fact, there were almost no questions and answers, propositions or rebuttals, or even jointly told stories. Instead, in a somewhat laconic manner, they took turns telling stories about experiences they had shared in the past. " They were referring to a funny episode from their shared past in which one of them, John, had gone to speak to the neighbor, whose huge, vicious dog had leapt out at him. The neighbor, an obese and toothless woman, had called out laconically to the dog, "Geet up the hill puppy," and when the dog continued to launch himself toward John, had reached her arm out of the screen door, grabbed the dog by the collar, and hauled him inside.
Mr. Sonnenfeld remembers a couple of lamb chop grease fires, too. The real, crystallizing moment, though, came during the night of April 22, 1970. "I remember the date. It was the first Earth Day, and I was at the concert with my girlfriend. It was something like 2 in the morning and Jimi Hendrix was tuning up, and suddenly over the loudspeaker system came the words 'Barry Sonnenfeld, please call your mother:" ("That's his version," Mrs. Sonnenfeld said. "There are always two versions, the parents' version and the kid's version.
There are always two versions, the parents' version and the kid's version. ") The article is a marvelous if unwitting demonstration of how people negotiate a shared past. Here two people, not just any two people but an aging mother and her adult son, reminisce to a third party about the same events. The son obviously sees the memories he is sharing as crystallizations of his whole childhood. And clearly he sees these memories as the base of his current self. They are explanatory memories. But there is also a current, transactional force to them.