History and Memory

History and Memory Speech

Literary and non-literary texts reveal the complexities of defining history. The representation of history in art forms and literature exposes the inability of objective facts and records to provide a reliable and accurate representation of past events. It is a amalgamation of personal experience, memory and documented evidence that accurately captures and characterizes past events. Stephen Frears film The Queen reveals the correlation between point of view and history, similarly in Phyllida Lloyd's film The Iron Lady and Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica, the role personal experience has in history is explored.

History, as a product of personal experience, point of view and factual evidence is expressed in all three texts. The opening scene of The Queen is a mid shot, presenting Elizabeth II in full ceremonial attire having her portrait painted, this image symbolically emphasises the constructedness of the representation of the Queen. While the narrative is constructed from actual facts and real events the opening scene foregrounds the Queens representation as a personal interpretation and artistic view of the director. Stephen Frears creates an imaginative recreation of the Queen’s personal thoughts and actions towards the events leading up to and following Princess Diana’s death. Frears representation of the Queen expresses the integral role of personal experience and memory in creating and capturing history. The Queen’s portrayal also reveals the inability of purely documented evidence in providing an accurate depiction of past events. The publics’ response to Diana's death is also indicative of the role emotion and personal memory has in shaping history and how facts and dates fail to accurately represent history.

Pablo Picasso's painting Guernica depicts the joint relationship of point of view, memory and documented evidence in providing an accurate representation of past events through...