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Forgetful Remembrance

Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

Guy Beiner (Professor of Modern History, Professor of Modern History, Ben-Gurion University)

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Oxford University Press
14 May 2020
Forgetful Remembrance examines the paradoxes of what actually happens when communities persistently endeavour to forget inconvenient events. The question of how a society attempts to obscure problematic historical episodes is addressed through a detailed case study grounded in the north-eastern counties of the Irish province of Ulster, where loyalist and unionist Protestants -- and in particular Presbyterians -- repeatedly tried to repress over two centuries discomfiting
By:   Guy Beiner (Professor of Modern History Professor of Modern History Ben-Gurion University)
Imprint:   Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 232mm,  Width: 155mm,  Spine: 34mm
Weight:   1.122kg
ISBN:   9780198864196
ISBN 10:   0198864191
Pages:   736
Publication Date:   14 May 2020
Audience:   Professional and scholarly ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Guy Beiner is a professor of modern history at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. He specializes in the study of remembering and forgetting, with a particular interest in the history of Ireland. He was a Government of Ireland scholar at University College Dublin, a Government of Ireland Research Fellow at Trinity College Dublin, a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, a Government of Hungary scholar at the Central European University, and a Marie Curie fellow at the University of Oxford. He is the author of the multi-prize-winning book, Remembering the Year of the French: Irish Folk History and Social Memory.

Reviews for Forgetful Remembrance: Social Forgetting and Vernacular Historiography of a Rebellion in Ulster

This book is 'bottom-up' history at its best, a sustained and subtle reflection on the enduring shadow of the failed rising of 1798 in Northern Ireland. Using a vast array of sources, Beiner shows shrewdly how for over two centuries ordinary people in Ulster and elsewhere have told this tale of a rising and its suppression through whispers, words, deeds and silence. * Jay Winter, author of Sites of Memory, Sites of Mourning; Remembering War; and War Beyond Words: Languages of Memory from the Great War to the Present * Guy Beiner has contributed to opening a new page in the history of memory, that of forgetting. He writes about the particular case of Ireland but the perspectives which he opens concern all historians of memory. * Pierre Nora, editor of Les Lieux de memoire [Realms of Memory] * This is by far the most thorough, comprehensive, wide-ranging and imaginative treatment of memory and 1798 to date, and one of the very best studies of mentality in Irish history ... Underpinning the analysis is a prodigious amount of research into a staggering variety of obscure sources to unearth a 'vernacular historiography'. The outcome is the most substantial reconstruction of history from below yet undertaken on Ireland ... It will be influential, and its significance will go far beyond 1798 or the Irish experience. * Emmet O'Connor, European History Quarterly * This is possibly the most important book that has been written to date about the very particular, politically inspired, social remembering and social forgetting of our history in the north of Ireland. * sluggerotoole.com * Forgetful Remembrance is a work of exquisite detail and theoretical sophistication that challenges the very parameters of the troubled intersection between history, memory, legacy, commemoration and heritage. * Angus Mitchell, History Ireland * How and why do communities forget and remember these moments of collective trauma? Beiner's ground-breaking argument offers new insights, new lines of inquiry, and some startling new conclusions. * Crawford Gribbin, New Books Network * Beiner's scholarship is exemplary. The referencing and bibliography is mind-bogglingly comprehensive. His writing is complex, but light in touch ... Beiner paints on a wide canvas; he interrogates the material world in particular to create a three-dimensional and vivid argument ... We're doing a lot of remembering on this island at the moment. Guy Beiner's wonderful book puts that activity into a wider context and embeds it into a deeper conceptual framework. * Ian D'Alton, Irish Catholic * In addition to its immense scholarship, Forgetful Remembrance is notable for its theoretical sophistication... there can be no doubt that this impressive landmark volume confirms the author's status as the foremost exponent (and advocate) of memory studies in its Irish formulations. * Jim Smyth, The Irish Times * Beiner demonstrates a breadth and depth of research that is breathtaking ... His erudition and humanity make this a compelling and highly readable work. * Georgina Laragy, Times Higher Education * The book combines a major topic of Irish cultural history with a meditation on the paradoxes of forgetfulness. Beiner is simply encyclopaedic. He seems to have read everything. His intellectual ambition puts him in a different league from most Irish historians of his generation. There are other studies of Irish memory concentrated on particular upheavals but this is the only one that is likely to be read internationally by scholars and students of memory * Ian McBride, Dublin Review of Books * Review from previous edition I am immersed in Guy Beiner's riveting Forgetful Remembrance... Beiner is an astonishing scholar whose dissections of Irish historical memory have already made his name. His new book looks at the processes of historiographical amnesia regarding the 1798 Rebellion in the north of Ireland, employing a huge intellectual range, and in extraordinary detail - while remaining intensely readable, with a Borgesian quirkiness. * Roy Foster, The Times Literary Supplement * This is an exceptional book which charts the Northern Irish county of Ulster's 'social forgetting' of the Irish rebellion in 1798...While the sheer size of the text may appear formidable, one hopes this book reaches a wider audience than just the academe. We have so much to learn from a text that exposes how memory can be systematically manipulated, weaponized, and 'forgotten', especially in a society which regularly repeats 'not in our name'....This is a groundbreaking text in the study of history, memory, and forgetting which would benefit any scholar of contemporary history. * Margaret M. Scull, NUI Galway, Ireland, Journal of Contemporary History *


  • Winner of Winner of the 2020 Wayland D. Hand Prize Winner of the AHA 2019 George L. Mosse Prize Winner of the 2019 Katharine Briggs Award Winner of the 2019 Irish Historical Research Prize Honorable Mention for the 2018 James S. Donnelly, Sr., Prize.
  • Winner of Winner of the AHA 2019 George L. Mosse Prize Winner of the 2019 Katharine Briggs Award.

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