Almost immediately after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Americans were urged to “never forget.” The phrase was a rallying cry for national unity at first and a rhetorical commonplace soon after. Today it seems almost absurd to think that anyone could forget, not while we continue to struggle with the social, economic, and geopolitical ramifications of 9/11. At the same time, memory is always in flux, always rewritten as new facts come to light, new intellectual currents emerge to challenge our interpretations of the past, and new events arise to test our sense of how the present moment links the past with possible futures. Even under ordinary circumstances, the memories that we collectively construct remain partial and subjective, and in the case of a national trauma like the September 11 attacks, the acts of writing and remembrance are incredibly fraught....
Writing the 9/11 Decade: Reportage and the Evolution of the Novel
American Autobiography after 9/11
Timothy Recuber is an assistant professor of sociology at Smith College and the author of Consuming Catastrophe: Mass Culture in America’s Decade of Disaster (Temple Univ. Press, 2016). He has written numerous articles and essays on mass media, disasters, death, and digital culture.
Timothy Recuber; Writing the 9/11 Decade: Reportage and the Evolution of the Novel
American Autobiography after 9/11. American Literature 1 March 2019; 91 (1): 221–223. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00029831-7335657
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