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“Memory as Mediator Between Self and World.”
Dalarna University, School of Languages and Media Studies, English.
2006 (English)In: The Construction and Deconstruction of Irish Memory. 5th NISN (Nordic Irish Studies Network) Biennial Conference., Aarhus University, Denmark, 2006Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the plays of Brian Friel, memory acts as a mediator in a complicated dance between past and present, a past that is often not what we thought it was, and a present that many times is not what we imagined it might be. Memory acts as a mediator between fact and fiction, between the reality of how things were, and our perception of that reality - how we imagined it to be. Memory acts as a mediator between ourselves and others, between who we imagine ourselves to be - how we perceive ourselves, and how others perceive us - who they imagine us to be. Drawing on the theories of Hannah Arendt, who sees memory in an ethical sense as a “recounting of our lives,” this paper will examine the theme of memory in the plays of Brian Friel, where memory is seen not as a burden from the past that betrays, and deceives, and haunts us, but rather as an empowering force which brings together experiences in a unified whole. As Arendt points out in The Life of the Mind, we do not exist only in space, but also in time: “remembering, collecting and recollecting what no longer is present out of the ‘belly of memory’ (Augustine), anticipating and planning in the mode of willing what is not yet” ( 201). My paper examines how Friel - in preserving experience through a narrative recounting - shows how memory acts as an enabling web of connections between self and world, so that what went before and what is happening now are given “a unified meaningful continuity” (Arendt), or in Heideggerian terms a “being-in-the-world.” I examine how Friel uses memory as a starting point, as a cathartic act that frees both the characters in the play and the audience from the shackles of the past. Thus memory is understood in Yeatsian terms as something that unites both the dancer and the dance, making room for what Seamus Heaney calls “the dancing place, the point of eternal renewal and confident departure” (Peacock, The Achievement of Brian Friel).

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Aarhus University, Denmark, 2006.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-2845OAI: oai:dalea.du.se:2845DiVA, id: diva2:521757
Conference
The Construction and Deconstruction of Irish Memory. 5th NISN (Nordic Irish Studies Network) Biennial Conference. , Aarhus University, Denmark, 3-4 Nov, 2006
Available from: 2007-06-16 Created: 2007-06-16 Last updated: 2012-04-24Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

Direct link
Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • chicago-author-date
  • chicago-note-bibliography
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
  • rtf