Gedächtnisgeschichte: some basic works


Assmann, A.  1999 (3rd ed. 2006).  Erinnerungsräume.  Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses. Munich.

             Significant for its range and methodology. English version: Cultural Memory and Western Civilization: Functions, Media, Archives
(Cambridge U.P. 2011)


Assmann, J.  1997.  Moses the Egyptian: The Memory of Egypt in Western Monotheism.  Cambridge, MA.

              A pioneering study.

________, Cultural Memory and Early Civilization: Writing, Remembrance, and Political Imagination (Cambridge U. P. 2011).

             Important for its theoretical framework.


Boyer, P. and Wertsch, J., eds., Memory in Mind and Culture (Cambridge 2009).
Essays from the perspective of the humanities and psychology.


Connerton, Paul, How societies remember (Cambridge 1998).
Now in its 16th printing, this concise book has been deservedly influential. Connerton's central thesis is that cultural traditions
and memories are transmitted not just by literary texts or orality, but incorporated practices such as ritual performances.


Erll, Astrid, Kollektives Gedächtnis und Erinnerungskulturen (Stuttgart 2005).
Excellent introduction. Useful and manageable (200 pp.) overview.

A brave attempt to bring some order - while avoiding systematization - into the memory boom sprawl. 2nd ed. now in English:

Memory in culture (Palgrave Macmillan, NY 2011).

________, ed., Cultural memory. An international and interdisciplinary handbook (Berlin: de Gruyter 2008).
Another, longer, and useful attempt, this time in English - westward the course of memory takes its way :)

Erll, A. and Nünning, A., eds., A companion to cultural memory studies (Berlin: de Gruyter 2010).

            Very useful collection of important, short essays on major aspects of cultural memory.


Fentress, J., and Wickham, C. 1992.  Social Memory. Blackwell, Oxford.


Gedi, N., and Elam, Y. 1996.  “Collective Memory – What is it?,” History and Memory 8.1.30-50.
Bracing critique of the usefulness of the term "collective memory." A welcome dose of iconoclasm.


Halbwachs, M.  1992.  On Collective Memory.  Translated by L. Coser.  Chicago.

German translation: Das Gedächtnis und seine sozialen Bedingungen (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch 1985).

One of the classics in the field.  H., a sociologist, advanced the view that not only individuals but groups, too,
develop “collective” memory, which then becomes an essential factor in shaping and maintaining identity.


Laqueur, Th.  2000. “Introduction,” Representations 69:1-8. 

Good introduction to the special issue of Representations, entitled “Grounds for Remembering.”


Le Goff, J.  1992.  History and Memory.  Translated by S. Rendall and E. Claman.  New York.


Nora, P.  1996-98.  Realms of Memory: Rethinking the French Past.  Three volumes.  Translated by A. Goldhammer.  New York.

        Another classic.  The original French version, in seven volumes (1984-92), is entitled Lieux de mémoire and
comprises some 120 articles, with widely scattered methodologies, on topics associated with French national memory and identity formation.  The sprawling result covers places, holidays, statesmen and institutions, monuments, the French flag, and much more.  The contemporaneity of the project and the increased immigration of foreigners and their cultures to France is hardly coincidental.


Oexle, O.G., ed. 1995.  Memoria als Kultur. Gõttingen.


Olick, J., and Robbins, J., "Social Memory Studies: From "Collective Memory" to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices,"

Annual Review of Sociology 24 (1998) 105-40.

A key survey, useful as a starting point for any foray into memory studies. The authors lay out the history of these studies, review

basic definitional issues, and offer some good working definitions and suggestions for future work. Excellently informed and

sensibly argued. Now supplemented (with over 500 pp.) by

Olick, J., et al., eds.,The Collective Memory Reader (O.U.P., New York 2011).

            The absolute go to resource for beginners and others.


See also the helpful overviews:



  Useful for memoria in Rome in particular:


Walter, Uwe. Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen Rom (Verlag Antike, Frankfurt 2004).

        Good starting point is pp. 26-35: "memoria: semantische Facetten und moderne Konzepte."


Diefenbach, Steffen, Rõmische Erinnerungsräume. Heiligenmemoria und kollektive Identitäten im Rom
des 3. bis 5. Jahrhunderts n. Chr.
(deGruyter, Berlin/NY 2007).

        Excellent overview of methodology in chapter 1.


Galinsky, Karl, ed., Memoria Romana. Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory. Suppl. vol. 10 of Memoirs of the
American Academy in Rome
(Ann Arbor: Univ. of Michigan Press 2014).


Gowing, Alain, Empire and Memory. The Representation of the Roman Republic in Imperial Culture (Cambridge 2005).

        Accessible and concise treatment in English.



Alcock, S. (2001), “The reconfiguration of memory in the eastern Roman empire,” in S. Alcock et al., eds., Empire (Cambridge), 323-50.
Allison, C. (2013). “Addressivity and the Monument: Memorials, Publics and the Yezidis of Armenia,” History and Memory 25, 145-81.
Anguissola, A. (2013).  “Remembering with Greek Masterpieces: Observations on Memory and Roman Copies,” in Galinsky (2013), 117-36.
Assmann, A. (1999). Erinnerungsräume. Formen und Wandlungen des kulturellen Gedächtnisses (Munich) =  (2011) Cultural memory and Western civilization: functions, media, archives (Cambridge).
Assmann, A., and Shortt, L., eds. (2012), Memory and Political Change (New York).
Assmann, J.  (2010).  “Communicative and Cultural Memory,” in Erll and Nünning, 110-  118.
_____  (2011). Cultural memory and early civilization.  Writing, remembrance, and political imagination (Cambridge).
Beard, M. (1987). “A complex of times: no more sheep on Romulus’ birthday, PCPhS      213      ns. 33, 1-15.
Beard, M., North, J., and Price, S. (1998).  Religions of Rome (Cambridge).
Bloch, M. (1998).  How We Think They Think: Anthropological Approaches to Cognition, Memory, and Literacy (Boulder, CO).
Boyer, P., and Wertsch, J., eds. (2009).  Memory in Mind and Culture (Cambridge).
Braun, M.  (2013). Wem gehört die Geschichte? Erinnerungskultur in Literatur und Film (Münster).
Brodd, J., and Reed, J. L., eds. (2011).  Rome and Religion: A Cross-Disciplinary Dialogue on the Imperial Cult (Atlanta).
Burke, P. (1989). “History as Social Memory,” in Butler, T., ed., Memory: History, Culture and the Mind (New York), 97-113.
Cambiano, G.  (2007). “Problemi della memoria in Platone,” in Sassi, M., ed. Tracce nella mente. Teorie della memoria da Platone ai moderni (Pisa), 1-23.
Carruthers, M. J. (1990).  The Book of Memory: A Study of Memory in Medieval Culture   (Cambridge).
Castelli, E. (2004). Martyrdom and Memory: Early Christian Culture Making (New York).
Confino, A. (1997). “Collective Memory and Cultural History: Problems of Method,”  Amer. Historical Review 102.4, 1386–1404.
Conte, G.B. (1974). Memoria dei poeti e sistema letterario. Catullo, Virgilio, Ovidio, Lucano (Torino).  2nd ed. 1985.
Cordovana, O., and Galli, M., eds. (2007). Arte e memoria culturale nell’età della Seconda Sofistica (Catania).
De Angelis, F. (2007). “ Dei luoghi e della memoria. Pausania, Filopemene e la fruizione della Periegesi, “ in Cordovana and Galli, 37-56.
Diefenbach, S. (2007). Römische Erinnerungsräume. Heiligenmemoria und kollektive Identitäten im Rom des 3. bis 5. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. (Berlin and New York 2007).
Dignas, B., and Smith, R.R.R., eds. (2012).  Historical and Religious Memory in the Ancient World (Oxford)
Elsner, J. (1995).  Art and the Roman Viewer.  The Transformation of Art from the Pagan World to Christianity (Cambridge).
Erll, A. (2011).  Memory in Culture (New York).
Erll, A., and Nünning, A., eds. (2010).  A Companion to Cultural Memory Studies (Berlin and New York).
Flower, H.  I. (1996). Ancestor Masks and Aristocratic Power in Roman Culture (Oxford).
______(1998).  “Rethinking ‘Damnatio Memoriae’: The Case of Cn. Calpurnius Piso Pater in A.D. 20,” Classical Antiquity 17.2, 155–87.
______(2006). The Art of Forgetting: Disgrace and Oblivion in Roman Political    Culture  (Chapel Hill). 
Foucault, M. (2001).  Dits et écrits, vol. 2: 1976–1988 (Paris).
Galinsky, K. (2008). “Recarved Imperial Portraits: Nuances and Wider Contexts,”  Memoirs of the American Academy in Rome 53, 1–25.
Galinsky, K., ed.  (2013).  Memoria Romana: Memory in Rome and Rome in Memory. MAAR suppl. vol. 10 (Ann Arbor).
Gallia, A. (2012). Remembering the Roman Republic: culture, politics and history under the Principate (Cambridge).
Gowing, A. (2005) Empire and Memory: The Representation of the Roman Republic in Imperial Culture (Cambridge).
Gudehus, C., et al., eds. (2010). Gedächtnis und Erinnerung. Ein interdisziplinäres Handbuch (Stuttgart 2010).
Halbwachs., M. (1925).  Les cadres sociaux de la mémoire (Paris).
______(1941).  La topographie légendaire des Évangiles en Terre Sainte.  Étude de mémoire collective (Paris).
______(1950).  La mémoire collective (Paris)
______(1992).  On Collective Memory, transl. L. Coser (Chicago).
Hedrick, C., Jr.  (2000). History and Silence: Purge and Rehabilitation of Memory in Late Antiquity (Austin).
Heusch, C.  (2011). Die Macht der memoria. Die ‘Noctes Atticae’ des Aulus Gellius im Licht der Erinnerungskultur des 2. Jahrhunderts n. Chr. (Berlin and New York).
Hobsbawm, E., and Ranger, T., eds. (1983). The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge).
Hölkeskamp, K.-J. (2013).  “In Defense of Concepts, Categories, and Other Abstractions: Remarks on a Theory of Memory (in the Making),” in Galinsky (2013), 63-70.
Hughes, J. (2013). “Memory and the Roman Viewer: Looking at the Arch of Constantine,” in Galinsky (2013), 103-16.
Hutton, P. (1993). History as an Art of Memory (Hanover).
Hutton, William (2005). Describing Greece: landscape and literature in the Periegesis of Pausanias (Cambridge).
Jaeger, M.,  (1997). Livy’s Written Rome (Ann Arbor).
Jenkyns, R. (2013).  “The Memory of Rome in Rome,” in Galinsky (2013), 15-26.
Kammen, M. (1995). Review of I. Irwin-Zarecka, Frames of Remembrance: The Dynamics of Collective Memory (New Brunswick 1994), History and Theory 34.3, 245-62.
Kirk, A. (2008). “Manuscript Tradition as a Tertium Quid: Orality and Memory in Scribal Practices.” In Thatcher (2008), 215–34, 271–72.
Kirk, A., and Thatcher, T. eds. (2005\.  Memory, Tradition, and Text: Uses of the Past in Early Christianity (Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature).
Klein, K.L. (2000). “On the Emergence of Memory in Historical Discourse,” Representations 69, 127–150.
LTUR = Lexicon Iconographicum Urbis Romae, vol. 3 (Rome 1996).
Mace. J. H., ed. (2007).  Involuntary Memory (Malden and Oxford).
Markowitsch, H. (2010). “Cultural Memory and the Neurosciences,” in Erll and Nünning (2010), 275-83.
Moss, C. (2012).  Ancient Christian martyrdom: diverse practices, theologies, and traditions (New Haven).
_______ (2013). The myth of persecution: how early Christians invented a story of martyrdom (New York).
Nora, P., ed. (1984-92).  Les lieux de mémoire (Paris).
Oexle, O. (1994). “Memoria in der Gesellschaft und der Kultur des Mittelalters,” in Heinzle, J., ed., Modernes Mittelalter (Frankfurt) 297-323.
Olick, J., and Robbins, J., (1998). “Social Memory Studies: From ‘Collective Memory’ to the Historical Sociology of Mnemonic Practices,” Annual Review of Sociology 24,          105–140.
Olick, J., et al., eds. (2011). The Collective Memory Reader (Oxford and New York).
Pethes, N. (2013).  Kulturwissenschaftliche Gedächtnistheorien (Hamburg).
Pethes, N., and Ruchatz, J., eds. (2001).  Gedächtnis und Erinnerung.  Ein interdisziplinäres Lexikon (Hamburg).
Price, S.  (1984).  Rituals and power.  The Roman imperial cult in Asia Minor (Cambridge).
______(2012).  “Memory and Ancient Greece,” in Dignas and Smith (2012) 15-36.
Raymond, E. (2011). Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit: recherches sur les formes et aspects de la mémoire dans l’Énéide de Virgile (Thèse du doctorat, Université    Jean Moulin-Lyon).
Revell, L. (2009). Roman Imperialism and Local Identities (Cambridge).
Ricoeur, P. (2004).  Memory, History, Forgetting (Chicago).
Roediger, H.L. III, et al. (2009).  “The Role of Repeated Retrieval in Shaping Memory,”   in Boyer and Wertsch (2009) 138-70.
Rosati, G. (2013). “Memory, Myth and Power in Statius’ Silvae,” in Galinsky (2013), 71- 84.
Rutledge, S. (2012).  Ancient Rome as a Museum.  Power, Identity, and the Culture of Collecting (Oxford).
Schacter, S. (1996).  Searching for Memory: the Brain, the Mind, and the Past (New York).
Seider, A. (2013). Memory in Vergil’s Aeneid: Creating the Past (Cambridge).
Small, J. P.  (1997). Wax Tablets of the Mind: Cognitive Studies of Memory and Literacy in Classical Antiquity (London).
Tai, Hue-Tam Ho (2001), “Remembered Realms: Pierra Nora and French National History,” Amer. Historical Review 106.3, 906-22.
Thatcher, T., ed. (2005). Jesus, the Voice and the Text: Beyond the Oral and the Written Gospel (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press).
Todorov, T. (1995).  Les abus de la mémoire (Paris)
Tulving, E., and Craik , F. I. M., eds. (2000). The Oxford Handbook of Memory (Oxford).
Von Hesberg, H. (2007).  “Stützfiguren im 2. und 3. Jh. n. Chr. - Spiele mit der Tradition,” in Cordovana and Galli (2007), 67-78.
Wallace-Hadrill, A. (2005). “Mutatas Formas: The Augustan Transformation of Roman    Knowledge,” in K. Galinsky, ed., The Cambridge Companion to the Age of Augustus (Cambridge) 55-84.
______(2008). Rome’s Cultural Revolution (Cambridge 2008).
Walter, U. (2004).  Memoria und res publica. Zur Geschichtskultur im republikanischen   Rom (Frankfurt).
Welzer, H. (2005). Das kommunikative Gedächtnis. Eine Theorie der Erinnerung (Munich).
Wertsch, J. (2009).  “Collective Memory,” in Boyer and Wertsch (2009), 117-37.
White, L. M., Scripting Jesus.  The Gospels in Rewrite (New York 2010).
Whitmarsh, T., ed. (2010).  Local Knowledge and Microidentities in the Imperial Greek World (Cambridge).
Winter, J. (2006). Remembering War. The Great War between Memory and History in the Twentieth Century (New Haven and London).
Wiseman, T. P.  (1998).  Roman Drama and Roman History (Exeter).
_____  (2008).   Unwritten Rome (Exeter).
______(2013). “Popular Memory,” in Galinsky (2013) 43-62.
Woolf, G. (1996).  “The Uses of Forgetfulness in Roman Gaul,” in Gehrke, H.-J., and Möller, A., eds., Vergangenheit und Lebenwelt: soziale Kommunikation, Traditionsbildung und historisches Bewusstsein (Tübingen), 361-81.
Yerushalmi, Y. (1982).  Zakhor: Jewish Memory and Jewish History (Seattle).

Updated 11.22.2013