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Adèle Cassigneul
Retour Books &co

The Life of Forgetting in 20th- and 21st-Century British Literature

Caliban No 60, 2019

The essays included in this issue were originally presented at two conferences organised in March 2017 and May 2018 by the research centre Cultures Anglo-Saxonnes, University Toulouse-Jean Jaurès. The authors seek to delineate an ars oblivionis in 20th- and 21st century British literature, a poetics of forgetting in which oblivion’s ghostly remains make for emancipatory swerves from the past and for the advent of new narrative configurations. After Ricoeur and Augé among others, remembering and forgetting are not envisaged as opposites but as a collaborative pair, with forgetting as the condition of memory or as the lifeblood of memory. Working on the productive interplay of memory and forgetting, the articles investigate what Derrida calls « the life of forgetting », the living appropriation of forgotten presences acknowledged as loss and yet made to survive, to endure, in renewed and transfigured presences. Thus, forgetting is not only the condition of memory ; it is also the condition of creativity and storytelling.

Painter Daisy Patton signed the cover illustration, Untitled (Two Ladies), part of the Forgetting is so long series.

Read the introduction online


Adèle Cassigneul and Sylvie Maurel - Introduction

Philippe Birgy - "I pray that I may forget" : T.S. Eliot and Active Forgetting

Anne-Marie Smith-Di Biasio - Intra-inter-textual Ghosting : Woolf’s
Piercing the Veil of Amnesia

Alexandre Privat - Oblivion Beyond Memory : The Relationship to Lack in
Adam Thorpe’s Still

Armelle Parey - "There’s a wooden thing for sitting" : Representing Memory
Loss in Emma Healey’s Elizabeth is Missing

Silvia Pellicer-Ortín - "Oblivion is a kind of blessing" : Memory Journeys in
Lisa Appignanesi’s The Memory Man

Katia Marcellin - Materialising Oblivion : The Creative and Poetic Powers of
Metalepsis in Ali Smith’s Hotel World and The Accidental

Jean-Michel Ganteau - Memory into Forgetting and Vice Versa : The
Creative Uses of the Mundane in Jon McGregor’s Reservoir 13