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In: Social Issues

Submitted By kiko5203
Words 6551
Pages 27
Fiction, Between Inner Life and Collective Memory. A Methodological Reflection. François-Xavier Lavenne, Virginie Renard, François Tollet1

In the writing of their fictional works, novelists often have to reflect on the functioning of memory, for memory lies at the heart both of inner life and of human experience in general. It is indeed in the works of writers such as Marcel Proust or Jorge Luis Borges that the best exemplifications of the subjective experience of memory are to be found. However, from a strictly mnemonic point of view, literature provides more than a means of reflecting on memory: it is also the site of the rebirth and construction of individual and collective memories, which can then serve as a foundation for the writing of fictional works. Creative writing has a meiotic function and is as such a powerful tool capable of rescuing memories from oblivion and bringing them back to life, thus reconciling the past with the present. The present article seeks to bring to bear new perspectives on the relationship between a novelist’s personal memories, collective memory, and the fictional narratives partially inspired by these two types of memory. In the first section we briefly examine the distinction traditionally made between individual memory and collective memory, which we then try to reconcile so as to arrive at an approach to the mnemonic phenomenon that best fits the needs of literary scholars. In the second section we challenge the conventional distinction made between memory and fiction, showing instead how the two concepts are linked and focusing, among other things, on the theory of “memory plasticity,” which holds that imagination plays an important role in the formation and perpetuation of memories. Finally, we study the relationship between fiction and reality and discuss the specific powers of fiction in its treatment of…...

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