Cover image for Context is everything : the nature of memory
Context is everything : the nature of memory
Engel, Susan.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : W.H. Freeman, [1999]

Physical Description:
ix, 188 pages ; 24 cm
Subject Term:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
BF371 .E535 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



"Context Is Everything is a fascinating, in-depth look at the mysterious workings of memory, the kind of thing Proust might have tried his hand at if he were less the novelist, more the essayist. It's a tribute to the author's insight that the comparison is not far-fetched-she's after the vital madeleine that brings back the secrets of the past, a quest that is stimulating throughout." -W. D. Wetherell, author of North of Now: A Celebration of Country & the Soon to Be Gone "For me, the most important story this book tells is the way remembering-memory-is dependent on a past others know too; it is the "fact" literature reveals: how many stories are necessary to tell one story." -Grace Paley

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

Drawing from the field of memory research, from literature and history, and from personal experience, Engel (psychology, Williams Coll.) explores the accuracy of memory in different settings. Her goal is "to draw lines of personal recollection and the social transactions that shape so much of our everyday uses of memory." In the context of a courtroom, for example, the recounting of a past incident is much different from its recollection during therapy or when confiding to a close friend. Depending on the context, details are remembered, forgotten, or amended. An unfavorable memory may be reconstructed to restore one's self-image or to add humor to an autobiography. Engel also shows how one person's recollection may influence and shape the way others remember "fact." While not attempting to be comprehensive, this intriguing survey highlights some of the ways in which private and informal memories intersect with public and formal versions of the past. Recommended for general readers.ÄIlse Heidmann, San Marcos, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.