Relationship Between History and Memory

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Memory and history share a unique dependent relationship with one another, and through the study of Mark Bakers' The Fiftieth Gate along with Christopher Koch's Highways to a War it becomes evident that the combination of history and memory brings meaning of past events to the present. French historian Pierre Nora once said that 'history is a representation of the past; memory is a perpetually actual phenomenon, a bond tying us to the eternal present', therefore implying history is a record of important events whereas memory is any personal detail remembered from the past. This distinction between the objective history and the subjective memory allows for conflicting accounts of events between official public records and personal memories, which is explored through both Baker and Koch's texts.

The 'fecks, fecks' of history complement the personal memories of individuals. Gate 24 of Mark Bakers' The Fiftieth Gate deals with the notion that once written down and recorded, memories become facts. Baker has some doubts of his mothers 'credibility as a survivor' as he has never 'met or heard of shared memories of the places which she had once inhabited', alluding to the idea that memory only becomes fact once it is corroborated. This dependency is also explored in Highways to a War where using Langford's personal accounts of his life, where Koch uses narration in the form of Ray reconstructing Langford's past by cross referencing his diaries with factual accounts of the War Langford was involved in. This intrepid relationship between the interest in memories and the need to cross reference memories with public facts promotes the idea within the audience that historical accounts are more reliable than personal memories. It is apparent in both texts that time is a filter for reliability, where personal accounts written in the period of an event are more reliable than memories discussing the past. Baker notes the paradox between history and memory when his father...
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