Private and Public Memory in Modern French Culture

by Peter Collier (Volume editor) Anna Elsner (Volume editor) Olga Smith (Volume editor)
©2009 Conference proceedings XIV, 338 Pages
Series: Modern French Identities, Volume 83


Memory has always been crucial to French literature and culture as a means of mediating the relationship between perception and knowledge of the individual coming to terms with his identity in time. Relatively recently, memory has also emerged as the key force in the creation of a collective consciousness in the wider perspective of French cultural history. This collection of essays, selected from the proceedings of a seminar on ‘Memory’ given by Dr Emma Wilson at the University of Cambridge, offers a fresh evaluation of memory as both a cultural and an individual phenomenon in modern and contemporary French culture, including literature, cinema and the visual arts. ‘Anamnesia’, the book’s title, develops the Aristotelian concept of anamnesis: recollection as a dynamic and creative process, which includes forgetting as much as remembering, concealment as much as imagination. Memory in this extremely diverse range of essays is therefore far from being presented as a straightforward process of recalling the past, but emerges as the site of research and renegotiation, of contradictions and even aporia.


XIV, 338
ISBN (Softcover)
contradictions collective consciousness visual arts aporia
Oxford, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Wien, 2009. XIV, 338 pp., 3 coloured and 14 b/w ill.

Biographical notes

Peter Collier (Volume editor) Anna Elsner (Volume editor) Olga Smith (Volume editor)

The Editors: Peter Collier is Emeritus Fellow in French at Sidney Sussex College, University of Cambridge. His books include Proust and Venice (1989). He has translated Zola’s Germinal (1994) and Proust’s The Fugitive (2002). He is the series editor of Modern French Identities and European Connections for Peter Lang. Anna Magdalena Elsner is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Cambridge and currently a visiting researcher at the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris. She is writing on the relation between mourning and creativity in Proust’s A la recherche du temps perdu. Apart from everything Proustian, she is also interested in French documentary cinema. Olga Smith is preparing her Ph.D. thesis, entitled ‘The Erosion of the Real: Photography in France 1970s-2000s’ at the Department of History of Art at the University of Cambridge. She is currently a visiting scholar at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris.


Title: Anamnesia