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Issue Details: First known date: 2012... 2012 The Past Ahead: Understanding Memory in Contemporary Poetry
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

The connections between memory and poetry have long been asserted and are present, for example, in the mythology and writings of the ancient Greeks. The nature of memory has been discussed by numerous ancient and modern writers, including Sigmund Freud. While Freud acknowledged that memories were sometimes fantasies, he nevertheless frequently likened the retrieval of autobiographical memory through analysis to an archaeologist's work in digging up objects from the past - as if in memory the past might remain intact and unchanged. Yet autobiographical memory is increasingly being understood as unreliable, as constituted of 'temporary mental representations' and as configuring present understandings rather than simply detailing past events. While many contemporary lyric poems are based on autobiographical memory, these poems often use material from the past to construct new narratives of the self. Thus the past is in front of, rather than behind the poet who makes use of autobiographical material (Author's abstract).

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  • Appears in:
    y separately published work icon New Writing vol. 9 no. 1 March 2012 Z1903762 2012 periodical issue 2012 pg. 102-117
Last amended 28 Nov 2012 14:44:11
102-117 The Past Ahead: Understanding Memory in Contemporary Poetrysmall AustLit logo New Writing
  • The Chest Lucy Dougan , 2008 single work poetry
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