A Summer to Die by Lois Lowry

By Lois Lowry

Thirteen-year-old Meg envies her sister's good looks and recognition. Her emotions don't make it any more straightforward for her to deal with Molly's unusual disorder and eventual loss of life.

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Webb 1965; see Karkov 1999). g. Sims-Williams 1983). Yet, rather than being abstracted from the world around them, written sources often bear testimony to the complex interaction of oral traditions and their recording in texts. In this way, social memories were created, transformed and reproduced through the medium of the spoken and written word (Innes 1998; Fentress & Wickham 1992: 144–5). For example, the production of a saint’s life, including the choice of miracles recorded and the manner and sequence of their recording, would simultaneously involve the reuse of tropes and parables from earlier lives and from the miracles of Christ to create the memory of the saint’s cult and community.

Similarly, Marcia Pointon (2002) has articulated a sophisticated discussion of how the role of hair and social memory in Victorian society provides a series of lessons for archaeologists concerning the way in which quite modest objects intimately connecting the living and the dead can serve in remembrance. These insights are focused upon western modernity, yet they provide an insight into the complexity and variety of interactions of material culture and memory in mortuary contexts. In many ways, however, it is only a false distinction between western and non-western societies that prevents these studies from being of value in considering the mnemonic roles of mortuary practices in the early medieval period.

Memory is therefore both practice and a structuring principle of mortuary practices. The mnemonic technologies of funerals provide the glue that binds rituals and participants together, but also the innovation that drives traditions forward in new ways. The advantage of perceiving past funerals as ‘technologies of remembrance’ is that it helps us to get closer to the actions of past people and to how these practices were directly implicated in remembering and forgetting. The emphasis of such an approach is not upon seeing 22 Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain mortuary practices as direct windows onto more abstract sets of belief, identities and affiliations.

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