David Rieff poses hard questions about whether remembrance has – or indeed ever could – inoculate the present against repeating the crimes of the past. Collective remembrance can be toxic, he argues, and sometimes it may be more moral to forget.
Ranging widely across some of the defining horrors of modern times – the Irish Troubles, the white settlement of Australia, the American Civil War, the Balkan Wars, the Holocaust and 9/11 – Rieff presents a pellucid examination of the uses and abuses of historical memory. His contentious, brilliant and elegant essay In Praise of Forgetting is an indispensable work of moral philosophy. David Rieff is challenged by historian Simon Schama.
This event took place on Monday 27th February 2017 as part of Jewish Book Week 2017.