Le devoir de mémoire et le droit à l’oubli : deux représentations littéraires
THE DUTY TO REMEMBER AND THE RIGHT TO FORGET: TWO LITERARY EXPRESSIONS
PublisherUniverzita Karlova, Filozofická fakulta
SourceSvět literatury, 2020, Special Issue, 187-195
memory, transmission, trauma, abuse of the memory, narrative and contemporary literature, L. Salvayre, C. Mavrikakis
The paper proposes an interpretation of two aesthetically convincing contemporary novels (L. Salvayre: La Compagnie des spectres, and C. Mavrikakis: Fleurs de crachat) dealing with the issues of memory (individual and collective, communicative and cultural). It proves that both texts, focusing on the intergenerational transmission of memories of the tragic events of World War II, come to the same conclusions as well-known memory theorists. On the one hand, they suggest that the duty to remember the victims of the past cannot be negated. On the other, they remind that memory cannot be promoted to the goal and the sole purpose of existence. Indeed, it is always necessary to keep the right measure, the so-called juste mémoire (Ricœur). Phenomena such as saturation of memory by traumatic events (Robin), selective trauma-centred memory, “sacralisation” or “abuse of the memory” (Todorov) threaten the mental health of the individual.