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Mémoires perdues, mémoires vives

 | 
André Topia
, 
Carle Bonafous-Murat
, 
Marie-Christine Lemardeley

Résumés des articles

Texte intégral

1Hélène Aji, «Jerome Rothenberg: Shaping the Memory»

2Jerome Rothenberg’s work can be read as a permanent assessment of memory’s activity and a questioning of the issues of defamiliarization and depersonalization. Resting on the concept of «othering» understood as simultaneously making other and becoming other, his work as an anthologizer, as a translator and, above all, as a poet offers both a practice and a theory for a past informing and, conversely, informed by the present. With his anthologies, conceived of as manifestoes and as collages, he composes the memory for his poems; with his translations, he turns the inscription of other poets’ poems into the individual text through citation and appropriation into paradoxical homage; with his use of gematria, the interpretive procedures of Jewish Kabala become the means for a staging of the tension between remembering and forgetting. This paper shows how Jerome Rothenberg’s work as a whole can be seen a gesture of remembrance, «gathering the members of Osiris» (Pound) in creative recomposition.

3Christine Berthin, « La mémoire héritée : secrets, sécrétions et secrétaires dans Dracula »

4Partant de l’idée d’une hantise transgénérationnelle, cet article fait du vampire la figure du retour d’une mémoire refoulée sur plusieurs générations. Une lecture de trois scènes cruciales de Dracula, reliées par une logique autre que celle de l’intrigue, découvre l’inscription cryptique d’un non-dit familial : le secret de la bâtardise qui choisit la hantise vampirique pour s’incarner. Une à une, les victimes de Dracula apparaissent comme cryptophores d’un secret dont l’émergence est d’autant plus inévitable qu’elle est fonction du mode de communication mis en place par le texte. Dracula est un produit emblématique de l’âge de la communication, tel qu’il émerge à la fin du XIXe siècle. Autour du phonographe et de la machine à écrire, un réseau d’informations se tisse, qui relie neurologues, phrénologues, avocats, sténodactylographes et hommes d’affaires, unis dans la certitude que le savoir, aidé de la technique, ne peut que triompher du monde de la mémoire. Mais la sténographie s’offre en fait comme le lieu de la résurgence inattendue du spectral. Paradoxalement, le vampire est donc produit par cette technicité même qui vise à l’éliminer.

5Guillemette Bolens, «Creation, Recollection, and Invention of Anteriority in the Iliad, Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, and James Joyce’s Ulysses»

6A similar concept of memory is perceptible in the Iliad, Snorri Sturluson’s Edda, and James Joyce’s Ulysses. On the one hand, the paradoxical question of the anteriority of Genesis is posed. On the other hand, the texts are organized so as to indicate that the anteriority of Genesis is created via textuality. The way in which memory’s object is produced by textuality is, however, expressed differently in the three works. In the Iliad and the Edda, morphological aspects inform the narrated cosmogony, whereas Joyce uses in Ulysses the medieval literary technique of interlace, based on the repetition of signifiers.

7Carle Bonafous-Murat, « Palais de l’art ou palais de la mémoire : la poésie muséographique de Tennyson à Auden »

8Le début du XIXe siècle anglais, époque où de nombreux musées et galeries s’ouvrent, voit se multiplier les poèmes consacrés aux musées ou aux galeries. La poésie de l’ère victorienne témoigne ainsi de l’importance croissante du musée comme modèle de la représentation du fonctionnement de la mémoire. Toutefois, ces poèmes (notamment ceux de Tennyson ou de Hardy) n’ont pas encore la complexité que la poésie anglo-irlandaise de la première moitié du XXe siècle leur conférera. Prenant successivement appui sur « The Municipal Gallery Re-visited » de Yeats, et « Musée des Beaux Arts » d’Auden, cet article entend démontrer que la poésie moderniste a réactivé certaines des préoccupations qui furent celles des auteurs de traités sur l’art de la mémoire dans l’Antiquité. En cherchant à modeler les lieux de mémoire, hérités de la période classique, sur la répartition des salles dans un musée ou une galerie d’art, la poésie moderniste muséographique a ainsi donné une nouvelle dimension aux poèmes victoriens inspirés du musée.

9Emmanuelle Delanoë-Brun, «“Evidence… of an Inconclusive Nature”: Aesthetics and Ethics of Recollection in John Barth’s Work»

10Ever since The Floating Opera, his first novel published in 1956, Barth’s works have demonstrated a continuous concern with the intimate relationship existing between memory and the elusive sense of identity, be it personal or national, in fictions openly preoccupied with their discursive status. The Sot-Weed Factor, in particular, works at undermining any pretences the art of remembering and relating might have to elaborating a definite version of self or history, offering instead a jubilantly complex intertwining of stories that pays homage to the art of narrative fiction, past and present. Yet just as Barth’s fiction takes a spectacular turn towards the celebration of a highly formal meta-fictional aesthetics, new questions are raised as to how, should memory be assimilated to a fictional process, to retain a sense of ethic responsibility, in a context of turgid international intrigues and catastrophic scenarii of the present and future that the artist cannot ignore. Challenging the fictional at work in the act of remembering and retelling becomes, in Barth’s later works, an act of educating the reader in the art of deciphering discourse, just as much as it remains an invitation to enjoy the infinite possibilities of the creative process. This paper, then, considers how John Barth’s postmodern fictions aim at negotiating some form of reconciliation between pressing aesthetic and ethic concerns, questioning yet asserting the necessity to produce a trustworthy memorial discourse ultimately responsible for our perceptions of the present and projections of the future.

11Stéphanie Drouet-Richet, «Memory as Syncope: Oblivion and Denial in George Eliot’s Fiction»

12Memory is a cornerstone in George Eliot’s fiction in that most of her novels emphasize both its affective function and the positive value of nostalgia, therefore suggesting a cult for a stable and reassuring past. In this perspective, collective and individual memory guarantee a harmonious order in what is presented as a causal world. This ideal linear pattern, i.e. the organic chain linking past, present and future, is however recurrently interrupted by accidents affecting memory and endangering the individual’s moral development and his relation to his environment. Eliot shows how visual deficiencies are often symptomatic of amnesia in characters whose obliteration of the past threatens to shatter their moral selves. The reintegration of memory into their experience and the acceptance of their heritage are the keys to their final awakening to morality. Memory is then central to Eliot’s theory of sympathy as a replacement for religion as a binding force in the web of the human community.

13Claude Grimal, «From Modernist Writings to Chronicles: Time and Memory in Gertrude Stein»

14This study offers an overview of the work of Gertrude Stein (from the «Portraits» and Tender Buttons to the autobiographies and memoirs: Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas, Everybody’s Autobiography, Wars I have Seen) in which each period illustrates differently the same refusal «of the psychic and cultural past», a refusal which becomes both an aesthetic project and a method of writing. The article shows that the question of memory is all the more central in that it is constructed as the adversary of writing. The article examines the contradictions inherent in this type of enterprise, where memory tends to resurface like an irreducible deposit that cannot be eradicated from human discourse, in spite of Stein’s utopian desire to construct the literary text as a brilliant manifestation of the atemporal activity of the subject, and to eliminate from it all traces of what she calls «identity.»

15Abigail Lang, «Louis Zukofsky and the Memory of Words»

16The article considers American poet Louis Zukofsky’s work in roughly chronological order so as to trace the development of his faith in the memory of words, in the ability of quoted words to remember their origin, to drag their contexts along, to stand for a longer development, and more generally to accumulate information. I isolate and explore three major phenomena that enable the coming into being of the one-word quote, namely Zukofsky’s practice of quotation, his conception of the word, and his practice of self-quotation This fetishistic practice stands in unresolved contradiction with Zukofsky’s materialistic stance.

17Herbert Marks, « L’art de la mémoire d’Elizabeth Bishop »

18Cet article souligne le rôle dynamique de la mémoire dans l’œuvre d’Elizabeth Bishop, à la fois dans ses poèmes et ses fictions en prose. Le passé n’est pas conçu comme un tout à retrouver, mais se laisse modeler et transformer par le présent. Une distinction est établie entre le souvenir traumatique, refoulé, hors temps, soumis à la répétition, et la mémoire vivante, sujette à des révisions et des métamorphoses. Le texte poétique, tressé d’échos formels et sémantiques empruntés à des contemporains (Robert Lowell) ou à des œuvres du passé (Shakespeare, Coleridge), dessine un art de la mémoire qui est aussi un art de la perte.

19Jean-Pierre Naugrette, «Collection and Memory: the Portrait of the Baskervilles»

20The highly dramatic revelation, in Chapter XIII of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, that the naturalist Stapleton is in fact a Baskerville in disguise, is a means for Sherlock Holmes of finding, as he puts it, the «missing link» of his investigation. The examination of the «line» of family portraits on the wall makes Stapleton’s face «spring out of the canvas» (as Dr Watson puts it), in a potentially fantastic frame-breaking. The aim of this paper is to show to what extent Holmes’s use of this epistemological metaphor, far from bringing the novel to a conclusive ending, brings about an open one, where the criminal’s traces merge into the bogs and morasses of Dartmoor. The memory of an atavistic resemblance between the naturalist and the Baskervilles, triggered and revived as it is by the «time-stained portrait on the wall», raises the issue of the perception of past times as «stained», as crushing the individual — a key Victorian motif also treated by Stevenson in «Olalla», and Wilde in The Picture of Dorian Gray. As Holmes turns out to be a connoisseur — which Dr Watson, in the novel, tends to deny —, the notion of collection is also problematic, here as in many stories where Doyle tends to associate it with madness: Holmes’s use of the «net» metaphor, by which Stapleton is viewed as a «pike» about to be caught, suggests, on his part, an identification with the very butterfly-collector he tries to catch. In «The Musgrave Ritual», Watson already described Holmes’s collection of cases as «curious». In her essay «Forging the Missing Link», Gillian Beer shows that the very notion of «missing link» is all the more ambiguous since the Victorians (and not Darwin or Spencer), who forged it in order to tame the fear of insecure origins, usually failed to do so: the «missing link» is not only a «negative», frightening creature, but by definition, missing. Thus does the end of the novel fail to secure the very origins which the detective himself had tried to revive by, and thanks to his own anamnesic work.

21Hélène Perrin, «Frederick Sommer and the Photographic Conjugations of the ramentevoir»

22When photography came into being in the nineteenth century, it was deemed a «mirror with a memory»: an apparently ideal combination of objectivity and permanence, it could be made to serve and illustrate a rhetorical view of memory, the age-old ars memoriae. American artist Frederick Sommer (1905-1999) plays around with these notions in a complex memory game which shows photographs to be «images about images» rather than objective mechanical recordings of a ready-made world. His images, in which recollection, recognition, representation, and the very representation of memory undergo constant redefinition, offer an insight into how «pictorial logic» can help «restructure our perception of this world».

23Christine Savinel, «Oblivion as Memory — Poems by Perelman, Sculptures by Smithson»

24This article analyzes some of the paradoxical connections between memory and oblivion in contemporary artistic creation. Land Artist Robert Smithson offers the sophisticated constructs of his Non-sites: sculptures that question the memorial capacity of the museum while being themselves endowed with the temporality of their own disappearance. Language poet Bob Perelman, both in his collection The Future of Memory and in his prose poem «NOTes on Memoir», writes of and from autobiographical gaps and textual lapses in one’s recollections. Sharing the vision of an entropic condition, Smithson and Perelman ironically dramatize or deflate the deceptions, manipulations and creative shortcomings of memory. They invent works of art that coincide with «ruins in reverse» or with the «holes» in a «zero panorama». In both cases, the photographic and cinematographic procedures come to support their aesthetic propositions as to the creative form of a gap in memory — one that could lead just as well to nonsense as, paradoxically, to time immemorial.

25André Topia, «The Ghost in the Programme: Joyce, Blake and “the daughters of Memory” (Ulysses, “Nestor”)»

26Joyce is situated historically at the meeting point of two conceptions of memory: the ancient technique of the ars memoriae based on mnemotechnics, and the modern electronic technology of storage and retrieval of data through computers. Paradoxically, Joycean memory is directed both towards the past and towards the future. On the one hand, it is haunted by opaque uninterpretable blocks of memorized past, on the other hand, it tries to devise programmes enabling it to frame in advance the very form of future experience. Thus «The Boarding House» (Dubliners) opposes Mrs Mooney’s programmatic memory, which ruthlessly reconstructs the past event of the love affair between her daughter and Mr Doran, and Bob Doran’s groping existential memory, which vainly tries to interpret the past event. The end of the story shows Polly Mooney passing from the second model to the first. In the «Nestor» episode of Ulysses Stephen Dedalus is caught between two conceptions of time and of the past: a discontinuous time oscillating between timeless moments of stasis and apocalyptic conflagrations; and an ordered sequential time of progress. In his Aristotelian meditation on the potential and the actual he sees the linear historical sequence recurrently subverted by parallel unaccomplished potential versions, so that his memory is haunted by static, almost hallucinatory moments of cinematographic intensity. This proliferation of potential versions announces the serial construction of the «Ithaca» episode in Ulysses and its Beckettian aftermath in Watt.

© Presses Sorbonne Nouvelle, 2006

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