In Tobias Becker & Dylan Trigg (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Nostalgia. Routledge (2024)
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Keepsakes are nostalgic objects par excellence. We value keepsakes because they prompt nostalgic memories of the past. But perhaps more importantly, we also value them because they afford a feeling of contact with that which they remind us of. Drawing on work in philosophy and psychology, this chapter aims to give an account of the nature and value of keepsakes as nostalgic objects. Keepsakes, it argues, are objects that bear a material continuity with some person, event, or place from one’s past to which one has a personal attachment. To understand the distinctive experiential value of keepsakes as nostalgic objects, however, the chapter argues that we need to invoke the imagination. Keepsakes manifest the presence of the past by prompting one to imaginatively project what a keepsake is historically connected with onto the object as one experiences it in the present.

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Mark Windsor
University of Southampton


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