We outline a theoretical framework encompassing the relationship between encoding and retrieval processes in episodic memory. There are no cortical regions or networks that are specialized for encoding; rather, successful encoding depends on the same regions that are engaged during on‐line processing. Activity in these regions is modulated by attention, such that those aspects of an episode to which attention is directed are the ones most likely to be encoded. Recollection occurs during retrieval when the processes engaged by a retrieval cue overlap sufficiently with those engaged during encoding to reactivate the hippocampally‐stored memory representation of the episode. This leads to reinstatement of the cortical activity engaged at the time of encoding. Unlike encoding, however, recollection is associated with the engagement not only of content‐selective cortical regions, but also of a cortical network that is active regardless of how memory is cued or the nature of the recollected content.