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By Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, Leo Spitzer

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Extra info for Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present

Sample text

I have counted twenty-three people in this photo, though the figures on the left are so huddled together that I may have miscounted: nineteen Jews and four Germans. . The boy in the center of the picture wears a short raincoat reaching just above his knees. His cap, tilted slightly askew, looks too big for him. Maybe it's his father's or his elder brother's? We have the boy's personal data: Artur Siematek, son of Leon and Sara née Dab, born in Lowicz *. Artur is my contemporary: we were both born in 1935.

Third, this "second-personhood" of witnessing and facilitating memory is an active choice, just as much as the act of memorizing that it facilitates. The acts of memory thus become an exchange between first and second person that sets in motion the emergence of narrative. The cultural nature of this process can become even more perspicuous when the second person who bears witness or facilitates self-witnessing is an artist or critical reader whose work functions as mediator. Indeed, witnessing can become a model for critical reading.

Feminist Theory and the Construction of Knowledge. Ithaca: Cornell University Press. Felman, Shoshana, and Dori Laub. 1992. Testimony: Crises of Witnessing in Literature, Psychoanalysis, and History. New York: Routledge. Hartman, Geoffrey H. 1996. The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. Janet, Pierre. [1889] 1973. L'automatisme psychologique. Paris: Société Pierre Janet. Lowenthal, David. 1985. The Past Is a Foreign Country. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

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Acts of Memory: Cultural Recall in the Present by Mieke Bal, Jonathan Crewe, Leo Spitzer

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