History and Memory

4323 Words18 Pages
History and Memory ‘Is there such a thing as “history” which is more objective than memory?’ For many years now there has been a strong debate, as regarding wether or not there is such a thing as ‘history’ that is more objective than memory. Due to memories completely subjective nature, history although also being somewhat subjective, it is a great deal more objective than memory. To discuss such a statement first one must define the terms ‘history’, ‘objective’ and ‘memory’. The Macquarie Dictionary defines the term ‘memory’ as:“ the mental capacity or faculty of retaining and reviving impressions, or of recalling or recognising previous experiences. A mental impression retained; a recollection.” For the purpose of this essay assume history to be; the knowledge of what happened, the record or expression of what occurred.” The term “objective” refers to being free from personal feelings or prejudice, unbiased. The idea of objectivity involves a belief in ‘the reality of the past, and [to] the truth as correspondence to that reality.’ In the light of such definitions memory is entirely subjective, with no elements of objective truth. Laurel Holliday’s book entitled Children’s Wartime Diaries illustrates how memory is composed of and subjective to ones current emotions and circumstances. Caroline Baum in her article The Children’s Ark and Mark Baker in his novel The Fiftieth Gate both use history and memory to reconstruct their parents past. Throughout their journey of discovering their parents’ history both authors discern the subjective elements of memory and discern memories subjective characteristics. Such characteristics as personal recall, bias feelings, fragmentation, gaps, forgetfulness and emotions involved... ... middle of paper ... ... · http://remember.org/forgotten/index.html · Burke. P. New Perspectives On Historical Writing, Polity Press, 1991 · http://remember.org/educate/mtimeline.html · Irving. D. “Did Six Million Really Die?” http://www.lebensraum.org/english/dsmrd/ · Collingwood, The Limits Of Historical Knowledge, Ashgate, 1984 · Bennet, J. Exploring The Holocaust, Bay Books Pty Ltd, 1981 · Windshuttle, K. The Killing Of History, Macleay, 1994 · Hamilition, P. ‘The Knife Edge: debates about memory and history’, Memory and History in the 20th Century Australia, Yale University Press, 1979. · Sydney Jewish Museum, 148 Darlinghurst Rd Darlinghurst, (ph) 93607999 · Baum.C, ‘The Children’s Ark’, Good Weekend, November 25, 2000 · Halsey, D. and Johnston, B. Collier’s Encyclopedia (vol 12), P.F.Collier Inc, 1988.
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