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Article

Английский перволичный роман-воспоминание ХХ века в свете теории памяти Анри Бергсона

In this article, the development of the English novel is viewed through the prism of Henri
Bergson’s ideas on memory, the past and the present. A turn to the French philosopher’s
system is explained by the necessity to design a historical and poetological model for
the genre of memory novel, which, in the author’s opinion, is very typical of 20th-century
literature in general and of English literature in particular. As the influence of Bergson
on the British literature of the 1900s–1920s is well-studied, the author focuses
on the subsequent period. The article analyses eight novels and a twelve-volume cycle
of novels written between the 1930s and 1990s. The scope of the research is also limited
to first-person novels which the author considers to be more representative for the genre.
He aims to prove that in its evolution, the English first-person memory novel comes
closer to Bergson’s ideas of memory being the synthesis of the past and the present
and of progressive movement of memory directed from the past to the present — not
only the other way round. Such understanding of memory and the temporal planes
explains the composition of the novels, the relations between the narrator, character
and narratee, the problems, ideas and style of the authors under investigation. It is
established that it is very characteristic of the memory novels of the 1930s, 1940s, and
1950s (George Orwell, Evelyn Waugh, Anthony Powell) to compositionally separate
the past and the present, giving ontological priority to one of the time planes (but not
to both) and also to strictly distinguish between the narrating and the narrated selves,
giving the leading role to the former. In the novels of the second half (William Golding,
Iris Murdoch) and especially of the end of the century (Kazuo Ishiguro, Graham Swift,
Hilary Mantel), the boundaries between the past, present, and future in terms of plot
and composition become more transparent; the positions of the narrator, character,
and narratee are more relativised; the system of narrative and grammatical tenses is
more heterogeneous.