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Record Type: Review   ID: 878

Narrative Remembering

DeConcini, Barbara

The author develops and presents a remembering hermeneutic based on the view that "the past is not only facticity but also a fund of possibility" (p. vii) that would restructure literary criticism and interpretation so that it "is more attuned to remembering than to time" (p. x). In this book she examines "the crucial role the human activity of remembering plays in narrative" in order to "come closer to the essence of modern fiction" (p. x). In studying the phenomenology of reading she uses "the anamnetic structure of the hermeneutical task itself" (p. xi). In this book she isolates two meanings of anamnesis: "The description of remembering as a human activity in fiction and in life and the description of remembering as a hermeneutical act" (p. xi).

In her own words, DeConcini writes: "The reflection on remembering in part II takes its lead from the liturgical anamnesis and anticipates the literary critical task of part III. It unfolds under the following rubrics: (1) remembering and narrative, (2) remembering and temporality, (3) remembering and identity, and (4) remembering and imagining. These chapters are more in the nature of a generative inquiry than a seamless web of reflection. That inquiry does not result either in a definition of memory or in a theory of acts of remembering. It intends, rather, to contribute to a hermeneutics of reading. Then, in Part III, I choose two literary locations to demonstrate such a "remembering hermeneutic." In my readings of Margaret Atwood's Surfacing and Saul Bellow's Henderson the Rain King, my aim is to find out how attention to the dense and variegated human activity of remembering offers fresh insights into modern fiction" (pp. xiii-xiv).

The ramifications of this book seemed to be so rich for anyone interested in new approaches to exceptional human experience that my initial attempt to abstract it became an article in itself. It may be found in Part One of this issue and will eventually appear in this website.

Publisher Information:Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 1990. 292p. Bibl: 283-292; Chap. bibl
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