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ISBN: 9781552454060

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On Nostalgia


On Nostalgia is a panoramic cultural history of nostalgia, exploring how a force that started as a psychological diagnosis of soldiers fighting far from home has come become a quintessentially modern condition. Drawing on everything from the modern science of memory to the romantic ideals of advertising, and traversing cultural movements from futurism to fascism to Facebook, cultural critic David Berry examines how the relentless search for self and overwhelming presence of mass media stokes the fires of nostalgia, making it as inescapable as it is hard to pin down. Holding fast against the pull of the past while trying to understand what makes the fundamental impossibility of return so appealing, On Nostalgia explores what it means to remember, how the universal yearning is used by us and against us, and it considers a future where the past is more readily available and easier to lose track of than ever before.


David Berry

David Berry is a writer and cultural critic in Edmonton. His work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, Hazlitt, Toronto Life, and elsewhere, and he was an arts and culture columnist for the National Post for five years.

Chapter Title Abstract Contributors Pages Year Price


The introduction discusses paradise as a place where nothing ever happens, as in the song "Heaven" by the Talking Heads. It also discusses the tension in nostalgia between the loss, the … 3 $0.30


This chapter discusses nostalgia as a feeling, and the history of nostalgia, from antiquity to the present, moving out of the medical into the cultural realm. Why it is important to describe … 21 $2.10


The author details how nostalgia is regarded with suspicion from academic to widespread cultural use. Advocates of dismissing the past, and their perpective of the world as just and meritocratic … 19 $1.90


Modern nostalgia in novel and flim is discussed, using examples of Ready Player One, Back to the Future, American Graffitti, Indiana Jones, and the introduction of prequels with Star Wars. … 22 $2.20


This chapter examines nostalgia in modern democracies, where generalized nostalgia binds individuals into a mass movement through its vagueness. The dissonance between nostlagia and how politics … 23 $2.30


Both nostalgia and consumerism satisfy a longing, an attempt to satisfy impossible desires. Consumerism, as in the most important role for a person is somone who buys things, and a history of … 23 $2.30


In this chapter the author points out that we don’t know what we’ve got until it’s gone and we don’t even know when it will go. The question "Why is it that nostalgia … 25 $2.50


Nostalgia is an acutely modern condition. As our future seems more in doubt, our past seems to offer more clarity and comfort. Beyond that, nostalgia helps us reconcile the dissonence of our … 3 $0.30