Penelope Lively's autobiographical memory

Zdrojový dokument: Brno studies in English. 2017, roč. 43, č. 1, s. [157]-169
  • ISSN
    0524-6881 (print)
    1805-0867 (online)
Type: Článek
Licence: Neurčená licence
This article examines the concept of memory in three autobiographical books by Penelope Lively: Oleander, Jacaranda: A Childhood Perceived (1994), A House Unlocked (2001) and Ammonites and Leaping Fish: A Life in Time (2013). As a novelist, Lively has a special interest in the ways in which people engage with the past, both private and collective. There are noticeable correlations between her fictional and non-fictional pronouncements on history and memory. The article emphasises the writer's conviction that memory is crucial to both her own and a collective sense of identity. By referencing three autobiographies, it further demonstrates how, without invoking any particular theory, Lively implicitly relies on diverse models of memory. These models range from a palimpsest or a storehouse of ideas to layers of archaeological evidence. Finally, the writer's refusal to narrativise her memories is treated as an expression of her acknowledgement of the contingency of memory, and as an assertion of her awareness of the potential for distortion inherent in historical narratives.
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