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408 LEITERS IN CANADA 1997 positions and polemics are W1ited by a culture-jamming urge to undermine the cyberlibertarian's commitment to networking at any cost or speed, and to engineer memetically a more critical infobahn. Browsers, caches, and cookies emerge from the fray as so many 'tedmologies of uselessness/ in the Critical Art Ensemble's highly useful phrase. Less wired readers might find it difficult to download the provocative claim that 'everything aspires to the condition of software,' or to admit that '[m]aybe the Unabomber was right.' Ifinformation overload is as tyrannous as the editors claim, then -Digital Delirium rules with a silicon fist. Its heterology perfectly duplicates the Internet's ability to overwhelm its browser: one emerges blinking, slightly frenzied, and with intimations of connection. Even if you're one who spends hours surfing teclmical FAQS, you probably have never asked the questions for which these essays and dialogues provide answers. Still, I have found many of the pieces (re)printed here both provocative and accessible enough to link to my own undergraduate course pages. If this collection expands the audience of C-THEORY, then it has served its function for the fin de millennium. Whether you're a 'New Age Cyber-Hippie' or a 'Cyber-Punk Provo-Geek Techno-Luddite,' you'll be left waiting anxiously for the Year 2000 Bug to reveal that the cyberrevolution won't occur overnight- or for the next collection from CTHEORY , whichever comes first. Digital Delirium, then, for the end of the technocratic world. (BRIAN GREENSPAN) G.S. Shrimpton. History and Memory in Ancient Greece MeGill-Queen's University Press. xviii, 318. $5s.oo History has suffered its share of challenges to its truth claims in the latetwentieth -century posbnodem world. The study of ancient historiography/ however, perhaps because it is anchored in texts written in a world vastly different from ours in technology and social structure, has been slower to embrace deconstructionist approaches. Shrimpton's book is a fascinating contribution to this relatively new tendency in scholarship on GraecoRoman historiography. He contends that modern approaches to ancient historical writing, and especially to the interpretation of Thucydides, have been based on the assumptions ofCartesian empiricism, whose major focus on how the historian comes to know anything as a fact is largely anachronistic when applied to ancienthistorical writers. Shrimptonwould substitute for this 'empirical' model of ancient historiography a 'rrmemonic' model, according to which the historian's primary task is simply the recording of people's memories concerningpast events. He emphasizes that the cohesive structure of the ancient city-state provided strong disincentives for a historian to set himself up as an individual researcher, using documentary sources not directly accessible to the ordinary person to overturn what his community believed was the truth of their collective memory. HUMANITIES 409 In the two long chapters that constitute his main text ('Rhetoric, Reason, Science, and Memory' and 'Verification, Objectivity, and Interaction'), Shrimpton summons in support of this reconstruction of ancient historiographic method a wide and varied array of information: experiments on human memory concerningnarratives read and events witnessed, literature on ancient and medieval mnemonic science, seminal modem works on the writing of history, reconstructions of different schools of scientific method (Newtonian vs Einsteinian physics, Stephen Hawking's Brief History of Time), techniques of land surveying. The argument is complex and discursive , and offers a wealth of insights. I have no doubt that he is right in his major contention that ancient and medieval mnemonic science and the modem psychological study of memory supply important clues to the understanding of how ancient historiaJ1,s went about their business. I am less sure about some of the detailed arguments concerning the interpretation of ancient texts (particularly the programmatic statements of Thucydides in his two prefaces, 1.2o-22 and 5.20 and 26). Here the argumentation sometimes falls short of the clarity and rigour necessary for conviction. The book is completed by two long appendices, each focusing on a specific problem of ancient historiography towhich Shrimpton believes his reconstruction of ancient historiographic method can supply new solutions: the source citations of Herodotus and the organizational scheme of Thucydides' account of the Peloponnesian War. Appendix 1, 'Herodotus...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 408-410
Launched on MUSE
2014-07-02
Open Access
No
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