The argument may be flawed, but Francis O’Gorman’s calm insight in her new book Forgetfulness is compellingby Samuel Earle / December 14, 2017 / Leave a comment
Published in January 2018 issue of Prospect Magazine
“Forgetting,” claims Francis O’Gorman, is now “the principal attitude to the past.” His new book has two aims: to trace a history of how memory’s place within society has changed; and then to offer a rallying cry for liberal nations to “celebrate and explore history’s best achievements, both things and acts.”
As new forms of backwards-looking nationalism are blamed for sending the west into the arms of Donald Trump, it might seem strange to publish a book lamenting the “forgetfulness” of liberal societies. But O’Gorman, a professor of English at Edinburgh, suggests that the problem is not simply that western nations remember too little of their history, but that they do not remember it proudly enough.