The Backward Look: Memory and Writing Self in France 1580-1920

1st Edition

Angelica Goodden

Routledge
Published April 1, 2000
Reference
ISBN 9781900755313 - CAT# Y309469

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Summary

Theories of memory and fictional recreations of the remembering mind have occupied a central place in French literature since Montaigne. The author investigates the shifting relation between cognitive or "scientific" memory and emotional or spiritual recollection in a series of major writers from the 16th to the 20th centuries. Her study focuses on the 18th century, where the interplay between memory and imagination and the link between self-knowledge and self-presentation are shown to be exceptionally fertile. The philosophical, scientific and fictional writings of Diderot and the novels and autobiographical works of Rousseau are central to this ground-breaking work, which should be of interest to all readers concerned with the specificity of the French literary tradition.

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