Skip to main content

Memory: Theory, History, and Media

  • Chapter
  • First Online:
The Italian Literature of the Axis War

Part of the book series: Italian and Italian American Studies ((IIAS))

  • 168 Accesses

Abstract

Building on theories of memory studies, Bartolini provides a sharp and theoretically sound conceptualisation of collective memory that supports the exploration of the scholarship on the legacy of World War II in Italy. Going beyond the differences that have often divided the Italian community when it comes to remember the past, the chapter underscores the dominant ideas that shaped the Italian memory of World War II. Then Bartolini offers a much-needed methodological discussion on how to study literature in connection to memory, outlining an innovative approach based on the combination of memory studies and thematic criticism and centred on the exploration of figures of repetition.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in via an institution to check access.

Access this chapter

Chapter
USD 29.95
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
eBook
USD 79.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Available as EPUB and PDF
  • Read on any device
  • Instant download
  • Own it forever
Softcover Book
USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Compact, lightweight edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info
Hardcover Book
USD 99.99
Price excludes VAT (USA)
  • Durable hardcover edition
  • Dispatched in 3 to 5 business days
  • Free shipping worldwide - see info

Tax calculation will be finalised at checkout

Purchases are for personal use only

Institutional subscriptions

Notes

  1. 1.

    On the ‘lieux de mémoire’, or sites of memory, see Pierre Nora, ‘Preface to the English Language Edition’, in Nora, ed., Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past, 2 vols (New York; Chichester: Columbia University Press, 1996), i, p. xvii.

  2. 2.

    Mario Isnenghi, ‘Conclusione’, in Isnenghi, ed., I luoghi della memoria: strutture ed eventi dell’Italia Unita (Rome; Bari: Laterza, 1997), p. 548.

  3. 3.

    Several scholars have mapped the evolution of this field of enquiry. See the introductions of the following works: Michael Rossington, Anne Whitehead, eds., Theories of Memory: A Reader (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2007); Astrid Erll, Ansgar Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies: An International and Interdisciplinary Handbook (Berlin; New York: De Gruyter, 2008); Susannah Radstone, Bill Schwarz, eds., Memory: Histories, Theories, Debates (New York: Fordham University Press, 2010); Jeffrey Olick, Vered Vinitzky-Seroussi, Daniel Levy, eds., The Collective Memory Reader (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011).

  4. 4.

    Wulf Kansteiner, ‘Finding Meaning in Memory: A Methodological Critique of Collective Memory Studies’, History and Theory, 41.2 (2002), 179–197; Kerwin Klein, ‘On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse’, Representations, 69 (2000), 127–150; Erll, Memory in Culture, trans. by Sara Young (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 6.

  5. 5.

    This understanding of memory is in line with Jeffrey Olick’s idea of ‘collected memory’, see Olick ‘Collective Memory: The Two Cultures’, Sociological Theory, 17.3 (1999), 333–348 (p. 338).

  6. 6.

    Barbara Misztal, Theories of Social Remembering (Maidenhead: Open University Press, 2003), p. 11.

  7. 7.

    Frederic Bartlett, Remembering (1932) (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995), pp. 199–214.

  8. 8.

    Alistair Thomson, ‘Memory and Remembering in Oral History’, in Donald Ritchie, ed., The Oxford Handbook of Oral History (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), p. 87.

  9. 9.

    Jay Winter, Remembering War: The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2006), p 4.

  10. 10.

    On Middleton and Edwards’ idea of group memory see Helmut Peitsch, ‘Introduction’, in Peitsch, Charles Burdett, Claire Gorrara, eds., European Memories of the Second World War: New Perspectives on Postwar Literature (New York; Oxford: Berghahn, 1999), p. xxiv. Similarly, Misztal talks about ‘mnemonic community’, Theories of Social Remembering, p. 15.

  11. 11.

    Ibid., pp. 5–6 and 10–11. See also Paul Ricœur, Memory, History, Forgetting, trans. by Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer (Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 2004), p. 393.

  12. 12.

    On the relation between memory and social identities see Geoffrey Cubitt, History and Memory (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2007), pp. 132–154.

  13. 13.

    Michael Lambek, ‘The Past Imperfect: Remembering as Moral Practice’, in Paul Antze, Lambek, eds., Tense Past: Cultural Essays in Trauma and Memory (New York: Routledge, 1996), p. 243.

  14. 14.

    See Qi Wang, ‘On the Cultural Constitution of Collective Memory’, Memory, 16.3 (2008), 305–317 (p. 307); John Gillis, ‘Introduction: Memory and Identity the History of a Relationship’, in Gillis, ed., Commemorations: The Politics of National Identity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1994), p. 3.

  15. 15.

    Jan Assmann, ‘Communicative and Cultural Memory’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, p. 114.

  16. 16.

    Avishai Margalit, The Ethics of Memory (Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 2002), p. 69.

  17. 17.

    Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (1983) (London: Verso, 2016), pp. 199–200.

  18. 18.

    Susan Suleiman, Crises of Memory and the Second World War (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2006), p. 4.

  19. 19.

    John Bodnar, Remaking America: Public Memory, Commemoration, and Patriotism in the Twentieth Century (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), pp. 13–15.

  20. 20.

    Nicolas Argenti, Katharina Schramm, ‘Introduction’, in Argenti, Schramm, eds., Remembering Violence: Anthropological Perspectives on Intergenerational Transmission (New York: Berghahn Books, 2010), p. 18.

  21. 21.

    Henry Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome: History and Memory in France since 1944, trans. by Arthur Goldhammer (Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1991), p. 4.

  22. 22.

    This understanding of group memory is in line with the one proposed in Thomas Anastasio, Kristen Ann Ehrenberger, Patrick Watson, Wenyi Zhang, Individual and Collective Memory Consolidation: Analogous Processes on Different Levels (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012), p. 152.

  23. 23.

    Ibid., pp. 49, 153. See also Halbwachs, The Collective Memory, trans. by Francis Ditter and Vida Ditter (New York: Harper & Row, 1980), p. 85; Erll, Memory in Culture, p. 110.

  24. 24.

    Michael Rothberg, Multidirectional Memory: Remembering the Holocaust in the Age of Decolonization (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2009).

  25. 25.

    On the connection between memory and narrative see Graham Dawson, quoted in Lucy Noakes, Juliette Pattinson, ‘Introduction’, in Noakes, Pattinson, eds., British Cultural Memory and the Second World War (London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), p. 9; Jerome Bruner, ‘The Narrative Construction of Reality’, in Michael Mateas, Phoebe Sengers, eds., Narrative Intelligence (Amsterdam: Benjamins, 2003), p. 44.

  26. 26.

    Jan Assmann, John Czaplicka, ‘Collective Memory and Cultural Identity’, New German Critique, 65 (1995), 125–133 (p. 126).

  27. 27.

    The possibility of narrating what one remembers concerns only that part of memory that neuroscientists have called ‘explicit’ or ‘declarative’ memory, see Alan Baddeley, Human Memory: Theory and Practice (Hove: Psychology Press, 1997), pp. 351–359. Yet, there are also non-declarative forms of memory that are due to implicit processes: see Daniel Schacter, ‘Implicit Memory: History and Current Status’, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 13 (1987), 501–518.

  28. 28.

    Joanna Bourke, ‘Introduction: “Remembering” War’, Journal of Contemporary History, 39.4 (2004), 473–485 (p. 473).

  29. 29.

    Thomson, ‘Memory and Remembering’, in Ritchie, ed., Oxford Handbook of Oral History, p. 90; Rosalind Shaw ‘Afterword: Violence and the Generation of Memory’, in Argenti, Schramm, eds., Remembering Violence, p. 251; Stephanie Bird, Mary Fulbrook, Julia Wagner, Christiane Wienand, ‘Introduction: Disturbing Pasts’, in Bird, Fulbrook, Wagner, Wienand, eds., Reverberations of Nazi Violence in Germany and Beyond: Disturbing Pasts (London; New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2016), p. 6.

  30. 30.

    Memory narratives are the results of both what people remember about events they personally experienced and what they know about events that they did not directly live through but are considered to be part of the community’s shared past. On this see David Manier and William Hirst’s capital distinction between collective episodic memory and collective semantic memory, Manier, Hirst, ‘A Cognitive Taxonomy of Collective Memories’, Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, pp. 253–261.

  31. 31.

    Suleiman, Crises of Memory, pp. 1–5.

  32. 32.

    The term memory discourse intends obviously to evoke Foucault’s ‘discursive formations’, see Michele Foucault, The Archaeology of Knowledge (London: Tavistock, 1971), pp. 31–39.

  33. 33.

    Bodnar, Remaking America, p. 15; John Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 100.

  34. 34.

    Quoted in Jay Winter, ‘Representations of War and the Social Construction of Silence’, in Elena Baraban, Stephan Jaeger, Adam Muller, eds., Fighting Words and Images: Representing War across the Disciplines (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012), p. 34.

  35. 35.

    Quoted in Robert Gordon, The Holocaust in Italian Culture: 1944–2010 (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2012), p. 28.

  36. 36.

    Bourke, ‘Introduction: “Remembering” War’, Journal of Contemporary History, p. 474.

  37. 37.

    Jeffrey Alexander, ‘Toward a Theory of Cultural Trauma’, in Alexander, ed., Cultural Trauma and Collective Identity (Berkeley; London: University of California Press, 2004), p. 11.

  38. 38.

    On the different aspects of the Italian Civil War see Claudio Pavone, Una guerra civile: saggio storico sulla moralità nella Resistenza (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1991).

  39. 39.

    Tony Judt, ‘The Past is Another Country: Myth and Memory in Postwar Europe’, in István Deák, Jan Gross, Tony Judt, eds., The Politics of Retribution in Europe: World War II and Its Aftermath (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000), p. 296.

  40. 40.

    Richard Bosworth, Patrizia Dogliani, ‘Introduction’, in Bosworth, Dogliani, eds., Italian Fascism: History, Memory and Representation (Basingstoke: Macmillan; New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1999), p. 3. On the continuities between Fascist and Democratic Italy see Claudio Pavone, Alle origini della repubblica: scritti su fascismo, antifascismo e continuità dello Stato (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1995), pp. 123–159.

  41. 41.

    For a comparison of the memory discourses formed across various European countries see Deák, Gross, Judt, eds., The Politics of Retribution (2000); Richard Ned Lebow, Wulf Kansteiner, Claudio Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory in Postwar Europe (Durham, NC; London: Duke University Press, 2006).

  42. 42.

    On Croce’s theory of Fascism as parenthesis see Pier Giorgio Zunino, La Repubblica e il suo passato: il fascismo dopo il fascismo, il comunismo, la democrazia: le origini dell’Italia contemporanea (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2003), pp. 284–286.

  43. 43.

    Filippo Focardi, Il cattivo tedesco e il bravo italiano: la rimozione delle colpe della seconda guerra mondiale (Rome; Bari: Laterza, 2013), pp. 3–4 and 45–46.

  44. 44.

    Filippo Focardi, ‘Criminali impuniti: cause e responsabilità della mancata Norimberga Italiana’, in Luigi Borgomaneri, ed., Crimini di Guerra: il mito del bravo Italiano tra repressione del ribellismo e guerra ai civili nei territori occupati (Milan: Angelo Guerini, 2006), pp. 133–158.

  45. 45.

    Focardi, Il cattivo tedesco, pp. 150–151; Angelo Del Boca, Italiani brava gente? Un mito duro a morire (Vicenza: Neri Pozza, 2005), pp. 252–262.

  46. 46.

    On the limits of the postwar reckoning see Mirco Dondi, ‘The Fascist Mentality After Fascism’, Bosworth, Dogliani Italian Fascism, p. 143; Ruth Ben-Ghiat, ‘Liberation: The Italian Cinema and the Flight from the Past’, in Italy and America 1943–1944: Italian, American and Italian American Experiences of the Liberation of the Italian Mezzogiorno (Naples: La Città del Sole, 1997), pp. 466–469.

  47. 47.

    Judt, ‘The Past is Another Country’, in Deák, Gross, Judt, eds., The Politics of Retribution, p. 296.

  48. 48.

    Ruth Ben-Ghiat, Fascist Modernities: Italy 1922–1945 (Berkeley; London: University of California Press, 2001), p. 208.

  49. 49.

    Michele Battini, The Missing Italian Nuremberg: Cultural Amnesia and Postwar Politics, trans. by Noor Giovanni Mazhar (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), pp. 20–22; Focardi, Il cattivo tedesco, pp. 149–150.

  50. 50.

    Thomas Cragin, Laura Salsini, ‘Introduction: Phases in Italy’s Representations of World War II’, in Cragin, Salsini, eds., Resistance Heroism Loss: World War II in Italian Literature and Film (Madison: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2018), p. xxi; Rosario Forlenza, Bjørn Thomassen, Italian Modernities: Competing Narratives of Nationhood (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016), p. 198.

  51. 51.

    Roberto Chiarini, Alle origini di una strana Repubblica: perché la cultura politica è di sinistra e il paese è di destra (Venice: Marsilio, 2013), p. 13.

  52. 52.

    Gian Enrico Rusconi, Resistenza e Postfascismo (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1995), p. 33; Claudio Fogu, ‘Italiani brava gente: The Legacy of Fascist Historical Culture on Italian Politics of Memory’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, p. 149.

  53. 53.

    Rusconi, Resistenza e Postfascismo, p. 7.

  54. 54.

    See Francesco Germinario, L’altra memoria: l’estrema destra, Salò e la Resistenza (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 1999), p. 8.

  55. 55.

    Filippo Focardi, La guerra della memoria: la Resistenza nel dibattito politico italiano dal 1945 a oggi (Rome: Laterza, 2005); Philip Cooke, The Legacy of the Italian Resistance (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011); Giovanni De Luna, La repubblica del dolore: le memorie di un’Italia divisa (Milan: Feltrinelli, 2011), pp. 41–48; Fogu, ‘Italiani brava gente’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, pp. 147–176.

  56. 56.

    Stephen Gundle ‘The “Civic Religion” of the Resistance in Post-War Italy’, Modern Italy, 5.2 (2000), 113–132 (p. 113).

  57. 57.

    Patrizia Dogliani, ‘Constructing Memory and Anti-Memory: The Monumental Representation of Fascism and its Denial in Republican Italy’, in Bosworth, Dogliani, eds., Italian Fascism, p. 27.

  58. 58.

    On how geography shaped Italian memories see Mario Isnenghi, Le guerre degli Italiani: parole, immagini, ricordi 1848–1945 (1989) (Bologna: Il Mulino, 2005), p. 261.

  59. 59.

    Alessandro Portelli, The Battle of Valle Giulia: Oral History and the Art of Dialogue (Madison; London: University of Wisconsin Press, 1997), pp. 127–128. Significant exceptions have been the debate on the level of consensus achieved by the regime, fostered by the books and interviews of Renzo De Felice, and the public discussion on the use of illegal chemical weapons in the Italo-Ethiopian War brought up by Angelo Del Boca. On the former see Tommaso Baris, Alessio Gagliardi, ‘The Controversies over Fascism during the 1970s and 1980s’, Studi storici, 1 (2014), 317–334.

  60. 60.

    Focardi, La guerra della memoria, pp. 47–50. Fogu, ‘Italiani brava gente’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, pp. 155–156.

  61. 61.

    See Filippo Focardi, ‘Il passato conteso: transizione politica e guerra della memoria in Italia dalla crisi della prima Repubblica ad oggi’, in Focardi, Bruno Groppo, eds., L’Europa e le sue memorie: politiche e culture del ricordo dopo il 1989 (Rome: Viella, 2013), pp. 51–90; De Luna, La repubblica del dolore, pp. 48–66.

  62. 62.

    The public memory of each one of these events has its own history. For an overview see Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory; on the evolution of the Italian public memory of the Holocaust see Gordon, The Holocaust in Italian Culture; on the most controversial aspects of the Civil War, which produced what Luisa Passerini calls ‘areas of resistance to remembering’, see Passerini, ‘Memories of Resistance, Resistance of Memory’, in Peitsch, Burdett, Gorrara, eds., European Memories, p. 290. On the emergence in the 1980s and 1990s of the memory of the Italian prisoners of war see Fogu, ‘Italiani brava gente’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, pp. 157–158.

  63. 63.

    Agostino Bistarelli, La storia del ritorno: i reduci italiani del secondo dopoguerra (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2007), p. 14.

  64. 64.

    As examples of the limits of the historical enquiry on the Axis War during the twentieth century, consider the numerous occasions in which Giorgio Rochat, in his 2005 study, lamented the lack of systematic research on this topic, Rochat, Le guerre italiane: dall’impero d’Etiopia alla disfatta (Turin: Einaudi, 2005), pp. 369, 371, 376, and 388. In relation to critical reception, see, for instance, Catherine O’Rawe’s reflections on how film critics neglected the figure of the returning veteran, O’Rawe, ‘Back for Good: Melodrama and the Returning Soldier in Post-War Italian Cinema’, Modern Italy, 22.2 (2017), 123–142 (pp. 123–125).

  65. 65.

    On the detrimental effect of using psychological and psychoanalytic categories for the discussion of collective memory, besides an evocative metaphorical sense, see Kansteiner, ‘Finding Meaning in Memory’, History and Theory, pp. 185–186.

  66. 66.

    Rochat, Le guerre italiane, p. xiv; Rochat, ‘La guerra di Grecia’, in Isnenghi, ed., I luoghi della memoria: strutture ed eventi, p. 347.

  67. 67.

    Borgomaneri, ‘Introduzione’, in Borgomaneri, ed., Crimini di guerra, p. 11.

  68. 68.

    Guri Schwarz, Tu mi devi seppellir: riti funebri e culto nazionale alle origini della Repubblica (Turin: Utet, 2010), pp. 140 and 189–197. On the 1948 electoral campaign see Stefano Cavazza, ‘Comunicazione di massa e simbologia politica nelle campagne elettorali del secondo dopoguerra’, in Pier Luigi Ballini, Maurizio Ridolfi, eds,. Storia delle campagne elettorali in Italia (Milan: Bruno Mondadori, 2002), pp. 204–214; Angelo Ventrone, ‘Il nemico interno e le sue rappresentazioni nell’Italia del Novecento’, in Ventrone, ed., L’ossessione del nemico: memorie divise nella storia della Repubblica (Rome: Donzelli, 2006), pp. 19–38.

  69. 69.

    On the de-fascistisation of the Italian past see Emilio Gentile, Fascismo: storia e interpretazione (Rome; Bari: Laterza, 2002), p. vii; Rochat, ‘La guerra di Grecia’, in Isnenghi, ed., I luoghi della memoria: strutture ed eventi, p. 348.

  70. 70.

    Bastian Matteo Scianna has reconstructed the perspective on the war developed by the army and associations of veterans by studying postwar military journals, Scianna, The Italian War on the Eastern Front 1941–1943: Operations, Myths and Memories (Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), pp. 273–292. On the limited influence of military institutions on postwar Italian culture see Schwarz, Tu mi devi seppellir, p. 178.

  71. 71.

    Isnenghi, Le guerre degli italiani, p. 253; Rusconi, Resistenza e Postfascismo, p. 7; Giovanni Contini, La memoria divisa (Milan: Rizzoli, 1997), pp. 170–171.

  72. 72.

    Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory, p. 10.

  73. 73.

    Stephen Gundle ‘The Aftermath of Mussolini’s Cult’, in Gundle, Christopher Duggan, Giuliana Pieri, The Cult of the Duce: Mussolini and the Italians (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2015), p. 243.

  74. 74.

    Lidia Santarelli, ‘Muted Violence: Italian War Crimes in Occupied Greece’, Journal of Modern Italian Studies, 9.3 (2004), 280–299 (p. 282).

  75. 75.

    The scholarship on this stereotype is today quite extensive, see Del Boca, Italiani brava gente?, pp. 11–49; Fogu, ‘Italiani brava gente’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, p. 147; Silvana Patriarca, Italianità: la costruzione del carattere nazionale (Rome; Bari: Laterza, 2010), pp. 208–218; David Bidussa, Il mito del bravo italiano (Milan: Il Saggiatore, 1994); Bidussa, ‘Il mito del bravo italiano’, in Borgomaneri, ed., Crimini di guerra, pp. 113–132.

  76. 76.

    Focardi, Il cattivo tedesco, p. xii. See also Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory, p. 73.

  77. 77.

    Borgomaneri, ‘Introduzione’, in Borgomaneri, ed., Crimini di guerra, p. 9; Patriarca, Italianità, p. 275; Emiliano Perra, ‘Narratives of Innocence and Victimhood: The Reception of the Miniseries Holocaust in Italy’, Holocaust Genocide Study, 22 (2008), 411–440 (p. 411). See also Focardi, Il cattivo tedesco, pp. 10 and 180; Ruth Ben-Ghiat, ‘Liberation: Italian Cinema and the Fascist Past, 1945–1950’, in Bosworth, Dogliani, eds., Italian Fascism, p. 88.

  78. 78.

    Ruth Ben-Ghiat, ‘The Secret Histories of Roberto Benigni’s Life is Beautiful’, The Yale Journal of Criticism, 14.1 (2001), 253–266 (p. 256); Rosario Forlenza, ‘Sacrificial Memory and Political Legitimacy in Postwar Italy: Reliving and Remembering World War II’, History and Memory, 24.2 (2012), 73–116, (p. 78).

  79. 79.

    Schwarz, Tu mi devi seppellir, pp. 143 and 261.

  80. 80.

    A summary of the dominant features of the Italian memory discourse of World War II negotiated in the postwar years is also offered in Forlenza, Thomassen, Italian Modernities, pp. 194–195.

  81. 81.

    On the role of 8 September 1943 in Italian memory and the different historical interpretations of this complex date see at least the following works: Elena Aga Rossi, Una nazione allo sbando: l’armistizio italiano del settembre 1943 (Bologna: Il Mulino, 1993); Ernesto Galli della Loggia, La morte della patria: la crisi dell’idea di nazione tra Resistenza, antifascismo e Repubblica (Rome: Laterza, 1996); Mario Isnenghi, ‘La polemica sull’8 settembre e l’origine della Repubblica’, in Enzo Collotti, ed., Fascismo e antifascismo: rimozioni, revisioni, negazioni (Rome; Bari: Laterza, 2000), pp. 241–272.

  82. 82.

    Schwarz, Tu mi devi seppellir, p. 268.

  83. 83.

    Susannah Radstone, ‘Reconceiving Binaries: The Limits of Memory’, History Workshop Journal, 59 (2005), 134–150 (pp. 135–136). On the difference between memory and culture see also Erll, Memory in Culture, p. 100.

  84. 84.

    Jan Assmann, ‘Communicative and Cultural Memory’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, p. 111.

  85. 85.

    Aleida Assmann, Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2011), p. 127.

  86. 86.

    On the process of externalisation see Cubitt, History and Memory, p. 121; on the process of mediation see Erll, Memory in Culture, pp. 113–114.

  87. 87.

    Such process of transmission does not concern only the episodic memories of events that the creators of the cultural products have personally experienced. Cultural products also mediate narratives about past events that their authors have not directly lived through but have learned from the memory narratives that circulate across society.

  88. 88.

    The idea that cultural products work as memory transmitters is in line with the reflections that Robert Gordon developed in his study on the memory of the Holocaust, see Gordon, The Holocaust in Italian Culture, p. 8.

  89. 89.

    Paul Fussell, The Great War and Modern Memory (1975) (New York; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. ix; Yosef Yerushalmi, Zakhor: Jewish History and Jewish Memory (Seattle; London: University of Washington Press, 1982), p. 27.

  90. 90.

    Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome, p. 219; Nancy Wood, Vectors of Memory: Legacies of Trauma in Postwar Europe (Oxford: Berg, 1999), pp. 5–6.

  91. 91.

    Erll, Memory in Culture, p. 152.

  92. 92.

    Erll has discussed both these functions. In her analysis, however, she focuses more on the ‘reflexive’ capacity of literature, as a medium that can thematise the work of memory, rather than on its reflective capacity of staging the memory narratives developed within a community, see Ibid., pp. 77–82 and 151.

  93. 93.

    This is the reason why literary scholar Ofelia Ferrán has defined literary narratives as ‘meta-memory texts’, since they can illustrate the memory narratives developed by a community in a given time, Ferrán, Working Through Memory: Writing and Remembrance in Contemporary Spanish Narrative (Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2007), p. 14.

  94. 94.

    Ricœur, Memory, History, Forgetting, p. 448.

  95. 95.

    See Joanne Garde-Hansen, Media and Memory (Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 2011), p. 1.

  96. 96.

    Rigney, ‘The Dynamics of Remembrance: Texts between Monumentality and Morphing’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, pp. 347–350.

  97. 97.

    Erll, Memory in Culture, p. 165.

  98. 98.

    Fogu, Kansteiner, ‘The Politics of Memory’, in Lebow, Kansteiner, Fogu, eds., The Politics of Memory, p. 288.

  99. 99.

    Erll, ‘Literature, Film, and the Mediality of Cultural Memory’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, p. 395.

  100. 100.

    Rigney, ‘The Dynamics of Remembrance’, in ibid., p. 348.

  101. 101.

    Geoffrey Hartman, ‘Public Memory and Its Discontents’, in Hartman, The Longest Shadow: In the Aftermath of the Holocaust (Indiana University Press, 1996), pp. 99–115.

  102. 102.

    Luca Somigli, ‘From a Place in the Sun to the Heart of Darkness: Contemporary Crime Fiction and Italy’s Colonial Past’, Italian Studies, 73.4 (2018), 413–431 (p. 417). See also Erll, Memory in Culture, p. 153.

  103. 103.

    Mario Isnenghi, quoted in Foot, Italy’s Divided Memory, p. 182.

  104. 104.

    Kansteiner, ‘Finding Meaning in Memory’, History and Theory, pp. 190–195.

  105. 105.

    Rousso, The Vichy Syndrome, pp. 272–295.

  106. 106.

    Aleida Assman, ‘Canon and Archive’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, pp. 99–102; Erll, Memory in Culture, pp. 75–77.

  107. 107.

    On the relation between canon and power see Barbara Herrnstein Smith, Contingencies of Value: Alternative Perspectives for Critical Theory (Cambridge, MA; London: Harvard University Press, 1988), p. 51.

  108. 108.

    On the concept of interpretative community see Stanley Fish, Is There A Text in This Class? The Authority of Interpretative Community (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1980).

  109. 109.

    On intertextuality and memory see Renate Lachmann, ‘Mnemonic and Intertextual Aspects of Literature’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, pp. 301–304. On intermedial relationships see Gabriele Rippl, ed., Handbook of Intermediality: Literature, Image, Sound, Music (Berlin: De Gruyter, 2015).

  110. 110.

    See Astrid Erll ‘Traumatic Pasts, Literary Afterlives, and Transcultural Memory: New Directions of Literary and Media Memory Studies’, Journal of Aesthetics and Culture, 3.1 (2011) 1–5 (pp. 3–4).

  111. 111.

    See Erll, Memory in Culture, pp. 140–141; Erll, ‘Literature, Film, and the Mediality of Cultural Memory’, in Erll, Nünning, eds., Cultural Memory Studies, p. 392.

  112. 112.

    Some scholars have suggested, although in rather unsystematic fashions, that repetition can be instrumental in studying cultural products as memory-reflective media. Birgit Neumann, for instance, has pointed out that the study of literary products can reveal the stereotypical ideas that characterise the conceptualisation of the past in a given cultural tradition, yielding ‘insight into culturally prevalent concepts of memory’. Similarly, Cesare Segre has stressed that the most recurrent tropes characterising a literary tradition must have strong ties with the collective memory of the community. See Birgit Neumann, ‘The Literary Representation of Memory’, in Ibid., p. 335; Cesare Segre, Notizie dalla crisi (Turin: Einaudi, 1993), p. 216.

  113. 113.

    Erll, Memory in Culture, pp. 166–168.

  114. 114.

    Ibid., p. 141.

  115. 115.

    Harald Weinrich, ‘Memoria letteraria e critica tematica’, in Ugo Olivieri, ed., Le immagini della critica: conversazioni di teoria letteraria (Turin: Bollati Boringhieri, 2003), p. 78. Weinrich makes this point only implicitly, stating that the branch of literary scholarship that is more equipped for understanding the ‘post-histoire’ of reading is thematic criticism, which, indeed, explores the formation of meaning in literary texts through the study of figures of repetition such as themes and motifs. For a reading of Weinrich’s idea in line with the proposed interpretation see Sergio Zatti, ‘Sulla critica tematica: appunti, riflessioni, esempi’, Allegoria, 52–53 (2006), 5–22 (p. 13); Emanuela Annaloro, ‘Problemi di critica tematica’, Allegoria, 52–53 (2006), 171–184 (p. 172).

  116. 116.

    For this understanding of the reader-text relationship see Hans Robert Jauss, Estetica della ricezione, ed. and trans. by Antonello Giugliano (Naples: Guida, 1988), p. 136; Umberto Eco, Interpretation and Overinterpretation, ed. by Stefan Collini (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), p. 65.

  117. 117.

    Erll, Memory in Culture, pp. 157–158.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

Copyright information

© 2021 The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG

About this chapter

Check for updates. Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this chapter

Bartolini, G. (2021). Memory: Theory, History, and Media. In: The Italian Literature of the Axis War. Italian and Italian American Studies. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63181-9_2

Download citation

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-63181-9_2

  • Published:

  • Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

  • Print ISBN: 978-3-030-63180-2

  • Online ISBN: 978-3-030-63181-9

  • eBook Packages: HistoryHistory (R0)

Publish with us

Policies and ethics