Le problème de la mémoire cinesthésique dans Augustin ou le Maître est là de Joseph Malègue
THE PROBLEM OF SYNAESTHETIC MEMORY IN JOSEPH MALÈGUE’S NOVEL AUGUSTIN OU LE MAÎTRE EST LÀ
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceSvět literatury, 2020, Special Issue, 109-120
synaesthetic memory, Augustine or the Master is Here, Joseph Malègue, ecstasy of memory, involuntary memory
In Joseph Malègue’s novel Augustine or the Master is Here, published in 1933, synaesthesia has a crucial role in the functioning of memory and in the shaping of human being’s situation in time. The synaesthetic memory, built upon synaesthetic experiences, is understood as a global memory determined by unified senses of vision, smell, taste, hearing and touch, inextricably connected to involuntary memory. As Malègue’s treatment of memory bears a strong resemblance to that of Marcel Proust in his cycle In Search of Lost Time, the synaesthetic memory in the novel is constituted by three main elements: the eternity of the main protagonist’s childhood memories, unified by the memorable smell of hay; the search of the absolute by the characters; and finally, the mystical experiences called “ecstasies of memory”. The latter determine moments comparable to an illumination, when the involuntary memory turns up out of an unexpected event or a stimulation of a particular sense. The article offers a close reading of three main experiences constituting the “ecstasies of memory” in the novel Augustine or the Master is Here: the phenomena of roses and Liszt’s rhapsody, linked with the protagonist’s love to his almost-fiancée Anne de Préfailles; the Font-Sainte chapel, which marks his first religious experience ; and finally, the pilgrimage to a place called also Font-Sainte, which reappears in the novel, becoming its leitmotiv and the buckle of the protagonist’s identity.