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date: 21 September 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Amnesia—as a neurological condition—is usually represented in negative terms, a loss of a personal identity that one desperately needs to recover. Much scholarly and scientific work has been done, in recent decades, on issues having to do with memory, Alzheimer’s, trauma, remembrance, memorials and monuments, truth and reconciliation; indeed, memory studies are a notable presence in ‘21st-century approaches to literature’ and culture. But hardly anyone ever talks about the desirability or usefulness of forgetting—which is the central concern of this essay. Drawing on Nietzsche, Marx, Renan, Freud, Luria, Anderson, Yerushalmi, and others, this essay considers the importance of forgetting, especially in terms of the nation and national forgetting—and then focuses on one particular literary case study, James Joyce’s treatment of these issues in Ulysses.

Keywords: forgetting, memory, amnesia, nation, James Joyce, Ulysses, modern literature

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