The Algerian War: Transcending Splintered Memories
If the essence of the national spirit resides in shared memories, as Renan argued, how do we build a memory consensus today?1 In Les Lieux de Mémoire, or Realms of Memory in translation, editor Pierre Nora’s response is for historians to tell the old national story in a new way. Inspired by Ernest Lavisse’s success in “reknitting the national garment of national history” at the end of the last century, but recognizing the impossibility of returning to outmoded, teleological, grand narratives, Nora proposes a new symbolic history of the nation.2 Harnessing the intellectual energy of over 120 historians, Nora sets out to unearth and expose the many but now imperiled and largely forgotten national sites of memory that litter the French landscape. By revealing their inner workings and those who gave them their special symbolic charge, Nora’s hope is to weave a new national tapestry held together not by the seamless narrative of an eternal France but rather by the countless sites that held special meaning for past generations.
KeywordsGrand Narrative Theater Company Private Memory Ritualize Form Foreign Legion
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