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Open Access 17. The Experience of Rupture and the History of Memory

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17. The Experience of Rupture and the History of Memory

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Chapter Summary

In the last three decades, the idea of modernity has become tightly bound to the study of historical consciousness. Both modernists and early modernists have long argued that the key catalyst for such a transformation of attitudes towards time and the past is the experience of rupture and crisis. This chapter explores the early modern memory cultures in their own right, one can see that they cannot be reduced to the simple shorthand of 'historia magistra vitae'. Feelings of temporal change and discontinuity can hardly be called distinctively modern, and they were part and parcel of early modern experiences of time. Van der Straelen tried to frame and interpret his experiences by placing them in a historical perspective, as have many others since his time. Eric Hobsbawm pointed out in 1972, one of the interesting and quite unexpected characteristics of modernity is the ongoing interest in the past.

Keywords: 'historia magistra vitae'; Eric Hobsbawm; historical consciousness; modern memory cultures; modernists; Van der Straelen



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