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Juxtaposition: Unreliable Narrator

How do/does unreliable narrators/narration inform my/our story-telling/recollecting? In The Dialogic Imagination Bakhtin writes of autobiography: “Memory in memoirs and autobiographies is of a special sort: it is a memory of one’s own contemporaneity and of one’s own self” (24).

In the Clive Wearing video we see autobiographical memory linked [by Bakhtin] to “one’s own contemporaneity and of one’s own self.” The connection, then, is “identity,” as the memory is the product of self. This is distinct, perhaps, from memory of objective experience, or experience that does not relate to the self. The self, then, becomes the historical time period in which the story takes place–one’s own contemporaneity–and the result dialogic.

In Momento, then, this aspect of “autobiography” can be described as the inherent conversation between the self, as a contained time period, and the history in which it is a guest. Looking at it this way, it is possible to see how the novel form, a biographical form, differs in its inability to achieve a totality, and how memory is both a creator and destroyer of autobiographical forms, which include the novel, but also many other fiction “hybrids.”



2 thoughts on “Juxtaposition: Unreliable Narrator

  1. So…you're insisting here on the maternal and non-eternal aspects of this inherent conversation. Either that or a person can't take the mom nor the moment out of Momento b/c it's a typo.But a pretty good typo.My hero C. Wright Mills used to describe the project of sociology as spelling out the connections between biography and history, which is as good a handle as any. On anything.Apologies if this is a tad acoherent; I honestly can't remember the last time I got 8 consecutive hours of sleep.

    Posted by Chris Collision | June 10, 2009, 7:38 pm
  2. I speak Acoherent fluently (tho' my receptive skills are oddly irregular); however, YES! I totally dig yr observation. & I, too, can't recall the last 8 hrs I had consecutively, but have a hunch it was the day before B was born.

    Posted by Kim Gek Lin Short | June 17, 2009, 1:24 am

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