Aug 16, 2018 in Literature

Cultural Memory

Cultural memory is the inalienable attribute of every society. The concept of cultural memory includes the range of the following points. Cultural memory consists of how we create the image of our past and make sense of it. It also helps people to determine themselves and their past, what they prefer to remember or forget and how they explain the reasons why they prefer to remember or forget something. Cultural memory is knowledge which is transmitted from one generation to another helping the next generation to reconstruct their cultural identity. Cultural memory has many forms and sources such as history, religion, holidays, traditions, arts, etc. Literature is one of the most significant keepers of cultural memory.

Almost every literature work independently of genre and form may be regarded as a storage device of cultural memory. Speaking about literature works discussing some historical events or describing some of the above mentioned forms of the cultural memory, it can be stated that they are the excellent sources of the cultural memory and significantly contribute to the formation of our cultural identity. Literature helps us know about the events taking place in the past. Due to literature, we can know about all the peculiarities of how people lived in the past although we have not the possibility to become the direct witnesses of the past events. Though literature does not guarantee the absolute accuracy of the reproduction of some events or their details, it helps to form at least the overall image of our past.

The development of modern society is unimaginable without literature. Literature is the essential part of educational process, but we also use literature in the wide range of other spheres of our daily life. Therefore, literature is the main basis of our cultural development. Books, magazines, newspapers, Web-sites and other literature sources are the primary sources of information which is necessary for people’s normal living. From the ancient times, people strived to transmit their knowledge to the following generations and fixed the events taking place around them or their own thoughts about some events or phenomena in written form. This literal legacy helps us understand what factors contributed to the development of our society, how it interacted with other groups and societies, how it shaped, etc. Due to literary representation of the historical events, we have the possibility to save maximal accuracy of the description of some events because if some information is spread in oral form like a myth or a tale, it may lose its initial sense and obtain new details which may be added in order to make the information more interesting, but its reliability decreases. In addition, different people may interpret the same information in different ways. Therefore, if information was transmitted only in oral form, its final version would significantly differ from its initial message. When something is fixed in written form, we may not be afraid that we receive information which is different from the initial author’s idea. For the literary sources about some historical events, it is very essential to save the initial informational message because it is quite important that all the historical facts be expounded maximally accurately.

Thus, the historical literature is the main source of our knowledge about our history and is the most reliable source of our cultural memory. As the genre of arts, literature also has a great value as the source of cultural memory. As it is commonly known, art is the reflection of current historical processes and stages of people’s development.

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