Total recall

<strong>Memory: an Anthology</strong>

Edited by A S Byatt and Harriet Harvey Wood <em>Chatto & Wi

Our memories, said Plato, are impressed on a warm wax slab.

For Cyril Connolly, they are card-indexes fingered by the authorities and replaced in the wrong order.

This anthology takes a forensic eye to the fragility of what and how we remember. In an age marked by Alzheimer’s and alcoholic amnesia, A S Byatt and Harriet Wood have threaded together a topical encyclopaedia.

The book’s first half comprises essays from disciplines as varied as psychoanalysis, neurobiology, philosophy and literature. The essays – somewhat crammed together at the front of the book – are lifted by literary extracts at the back. These range from Virginia Woolf and Aristotle to Haruki Murakami.

One writer, describing the First World War, tells how terror intensifies mundane images, “like single poppies or the scars on a rifle-stock”, carving them deep into grooved and vivid memories. Another examines how the global media are burning our collective memory. Shared images of the twin towers’ collapse, for instance, have created an objective history and politics, undifferentiated by personal experience.

Although western-focused, Memory is a reassuring trawl through snatches of text that are as fragmented as our brains.

This article first appeared in the 28 January 2008 issue of the New Statesman, Merchant adventurer

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SRSLY #13: Take Two

On the pop culture podcast this week, we discuss Michael Fassbender’s Macbeth, the recent BBC adaptations of Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie, and reminisce about teen movie Shakespeare retelling She’s the Man.

This is SRSLY, the pop culture podcast from the New Statesman. Here, you can find links to all the things we talk about in the show as well as a bit more detail about who we are and where else you can find us online.

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SRSLY is hosted by Caroline Crampton and Anna Leszkiewicz, the NS’s web editor and editorial assistant. We’re on Twitter as @c_crampton and @annaleszkie, where between us we post a heady mixture of Serious Journalism, excellent gifs and regularly ask questions J K Rowling needs to answer.

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The Links

On Macbeth

Ryan Gilbey’s review of Macbeth.

The trailer for the film.

The details about the 2005 Macbeth from the BBC’s Shakespeare Retold series.


On Lady Chatterley’s Lover and Cider with Rosie

Rachel Cooke’s review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

Sarah Hughes on Cider with Rosie, and the BBC’s attempt to create “heritage television for the Downton Abbey age”.


On She’s the Man (and other teen movie Shakespeare retellings)

The trailer for She’s the Man.

The 27 best moments from the film.

Bim Adewunmi’s great piece remembering 10 Things I Hate About You.


Next week:

Anna is reading Lolly Willowes by Sylvia Townsend Warner.


Your questions:

We loved talking about your recommendations and feedback this week. If you have thoughts you want to share on anything we've discussed, or questions you want to ask us, please email us on srslypod[at], or @ us on Twitter @srslypod, or get in touch via tumblr here. We also have Facebook now.



The music featured this week, in order of appearance, is:


Our theme music is “Guatemala - Panama March” (by Heftone Banjo Orchestra), licensed under Creative Commons. 



See you next week!

PS If you missed #12, check it out here.

Caroline Crampton is web editor of the New Statesman.

Anna Leszkiewicz is the New Statesman's editorial assistant.