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Not because of some psychogenic amnesia or selective forgetting of the pain, but simply because of neglect and complacency.
Huyssen's analysis is especially successful in bridging the intersections between public memory, history, and selective forgetting or remembering by examining three cities that have had to come to terms with major political or social traumas: Berlin, Buenos Aires, and New York.
Selective forgetting was necessary as democratic nationalism, envisioned as civic and inclusive, was later built in states formed earlier by sectarian exclusiveness; its builders (and nineteenth- and twentieth-century historians) now attributed nationalism to secular forces, arguing that it could not have appeared until the rise of capitalism, industrialization, parliamentary democracy, greater literacy, and mass communications had paved the way, forgetting its origins in something akin to "ethnic cleansing," as for example in the aftermath in France of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.
I continue to see a profound level of cognitive distortion and selective forgetting as too many of these men scramble yet one more time to minimize the issue and shirk responsibility.
He demonstrates persuasively that the early Victorian novel, to the contrary of our received notions, was energetically engaged in a kind of selective forgetting.
He delineates precisely how our modern view of memory as trauma grew out of an early Victorian perspective of memory as nostalgia--positively selective forgetting He ties the failures of recall in Austen's social novels, all those amnesias and deliberate social forgettings, to the new medical opinions that were transforming the nostalgia of the late eighteenth century from a life-threatening disease into a comfortable Victorian retrospective.
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