Lewis Hyde c Anna Schuleit Haber

Lewis Hyde

A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past

FoI at Waterstones/
Fri 06 September 2019

Lewis Hyde

A Primer for Forgetting: Getting Past the Past

Lewis Hyde c Anna Schuleit Haber
Fri 06 September 2019,

We live in a culture that prizes memory – how much we can store, the quality of what’s preserved, how we might better document and retain the moments of our life while fighting off the nightmare of losing all that we have experienced. But what if forgetfulness was seen not as something to fear – be it in the form of illness or simple absentmindedness – but rather as a blessing, a balm, a path to peace and rebirth?

In his new book A Primer for Forgetting – a remarkable experiment in scholarship, autobiography, and social criticism – Lewis Hyde, author of the classics The Gift and Trickster Makes This World, forges a new vision of forgetfulness by assembling fragments of art and writing from the ancient world to the modern, weighing the potential boons forgetfulness might offer the present moment as a creative and political force. The book also turns inward, using the author’s own life and memory as a canvas upon which to extol the virtues of a concept too long taken as an evil.

This is an essential session for those seeking to forget and remember and for a city dealing with guilt about the past. What should we remember and forget? Is there a good forgetting that means we can put things behind us and move on?

Image credit Anna Schuleit Haber.

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