Rowman and Littlefield International

The Work of Forgetting

Or, How Can We Make the Future Possible?

By Stephane Symons

Part of the series Philosophical Projections

Publication Date: Jan 2019

Pages 144

Hardback 9781785523236
£80.00 €112.00 $120.00
Ebook 9781785523243
£24.99 €34.99 $119.99
Not available for pre-order
For over fifty years the concept of memory has played a crucial role in a large number of academic and societal debates. The Work of Forgetting: Or, How Can We Make the Future Possible? draws attention to the limits of the academic field of memory studies. It argues that the faculty of memory offers an inadequate response to the challenges of the present.

The book sets up a dialogue between the philosophies of forgetting that underlie the writings of Friedrich Nietzsche, Walter Benjamin and Gilles Deleuze, and the philosophies of memory that inform the work of Sigmund Freud, Martin Heidegger and Hannah Arendt. It builds on the idea that history is inseparable from a type of
transience that cannot be counter-acted by the preserving work of memory and develops a new understanding of the phenomenon of forgetting in which the passage of time is asserted in thought and thus made productive.

Acknowledgments

Introduction: The Work of Forgetting. Or, How Can We Make the Future Possible?

Chapter One: What is Thought? And How Can We Bring It About?

Chapter Two: What is the Immemorial? And How Can We Make It Go Away?

Chapter Three: What is the Child? Or How Can We Begin Anew?

By Way of Conclusion: A Note on Shadows

Index

An original, well-informed, and profoundly provocative meditation on the untoward theme of forgetting. Focusing on the writings of Walter Benjamin in the context of authors such as Baudelaire, Nietzsche, Bergson, Proust, and Arendt, Stéphane Symons shows how transience can be worked through from within and transmuted into a creative force.
Howard Eiland, Lecturer, Literature Faculty, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Stephane Symons is Assistant Professor of Philosophy at KU Leuven, Belgium. He is the author of Walter Benjamin: Presence of Mind, Failure to Comprehend (2013) and More than Life: Georg Simmel and Walter Benjamin on Art (2017), editor of The Marriage of Aesthetics and Ethics (2015) and co-editor of Walter Benjamin and Theology (2015).

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