N.33 - A memoir of the future

“Psychoanalysis, I believe” in wonderland. Reading and Literature in A Memoir of the Future

Abstract

Instead of calling his trilogy Memory of the Future, Bion has chosen to call it A Memoir. The word used for the Italian translation, memoria, is more ambiguous and omits the distinction. In English the title alerts the reader as to what is to come – a memoir – that is, an account of personal recollections. If we investigate what exactly a memoir is as a literary genre, identifying one of the distinctive traits of the memoir as a “commitment to the real”, and adds that such a genre indicates the fundamental human activity of narrating our life story on its own terms.
Just what constitutes reality and truth, and what might right be considered “facts”, is one of the chief arguments that underpin the dialogues between the characters of the Memoir and which involve the reader so deeply. It may seem paradoxical, but I reckon we can surmise that Bion wrote these books for reasons akin to this “commitment to the real”, even if the reality to which he felt committed is neither historical nor material but mental reality, emotional truth, and the “facts” and “actual events” under discussion are far more complex than those that may be observed with one’s eyes. From this starting point in this paper I’ll try to explore Bion’s relationship with narration and litterature.

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