Encountering the Past within the Present
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Encountering the Past within the Present: Modern Experiences of Time examines different encounters with the past from within the present - whether as commemoration, nostalgia, silence, ghostly haunting or combinations thereof. Taking its cue from Hannah Arendt's definition of the present as a time span lying between past and future, the author reflects on the old philosophical question of how to live the good life - not only with others who are physically with us but also with those whose presence is ghostly and liminal. While tradition may no longer command the same authority as it did in antiquity or the middle ages, individuals are by no means severed from the past. Rather, nostalgic longing for bygone times and traumatic preoccupation with painful historical events demonstrate the vitality of the past within the present. Divided into three parts, chapters examine ways in which the legacies of World War II, the Holocaust and communism have been remembered after 1945 and 1989. Maintaining a sustained reflection on the nexus of memory, modernity and time in tandem with ancient questions of responsibility for one another and the world, the volume contributes to the growing field of memory studies from a philosophical perspective. As such, it will appeal to scholars of sociology, social theory and philosophy with interests in collective memory and heritage.