By Nicholas Dames
With Joyce, Proust, and Faulkner in brain, now we have come to appreciate the unconventional as a kind with intimate ties to the impulses and strategies of reminiscence. This examine contends that this universal conception is an anachronism that distorts our view of the unconventional. in keeping with an research of consultant novels, Amnesiac Selves exhibits that the Victorian novel bears no such safe relation to reminiscence, and, actually, it attempts to conceal, ward off, and cast off remembering. Dames argues that the impressive shortage and particular unease of representations of remembrance within the nineteenth-century British novel sign an artwork shape suffering to outline and build new ideas of reminiscence. by way of putting nineteenth-century British fiction from Jane Austen to Wilkie Collins along a wide selection of Victorian psychologies and theories of brain, Nicholas Dames conjures up a novelistic international, and a tradition, prior to smooth memory--one devoted to a nostalgic evasion of distinctive recollection which our time has mostly forgotten.
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Extra resources for Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870
35 The emphasis here is predictably on the virtue of return—on the moral and physical beneﬁts of avoiding nostalgia’s grip; concomitantly, of course, there is a dramatization of the obstacles to returning home and the “healing” it might provide. Certainly by Austen’s time, literary culture was well aware of medicalized nostalgia, and prepared to incorporate the various strands of that disease— its nationalistic and liberalizing slant, its elucidation of a backward-turned personality, its interest in personality under conditions of transplantation— in its own projects.
William Price, Fanny’s naval brother, has returned to England with his ship and has obtained leave to visit Fanny at Mansﬁeld; with their conversation during the ﬁrst few days of his arrival Fanny is entirely pleased. They discuss everything without reserve— William’s plans for promotion, Fanny’s adjustment to the ways of the Bertrams, the perﬁdy of Aunt Norris—and it is William “with whom (perhaps the dearest indulgence of the whole) all the evil and good of their earliest years could be gone over again, and every former united pain and pleasure retraced with the fondest recollection” (MP, 234).
18 It was, in essence, a disease of yearning—a yearning for home so intense that the most severe pathological eVects ensue. Falconer’s general description is echoed throughout the medical literature: general listlessness and melancholy—the dangerous ﬁrst signs—followed by fever and occasionally hallucinatory visions of home; then gastric distress caused by the body’s torpor, issuing in severe gastroenteritis; ﬁnally, the body succumbs to its weakness, a more severe fever killing the patient.
Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 by Nicholas Dames