De la mémoire défectueuse à la quête identitaire
What becomes of a person whose memory has been manipulated, whose identity has been wrongly associated with the Nazi movement, and who finds himself incapable of recalling a part of his past? The novel Magnus by Sylvie Germain traces back the quest for identity of the main character Magnus who is confronted with the mystification of his life due to the interference of History. Questions arising concern on one hand his origin including his own name, fallen into oblivion. Here the act of rememorizing is necessary which implies anamnesis, the term introduced by Paul Ricœur: in recalling of the past the exertion of memory seems indispensable. On the other hand, sometimes the excess of memories predominates, leading to an act of resistance against what appears to be too burdensome to be assumed. However, it happens that thanks to favorable circumstances a maze of impressions and sensations emerges giving place to the unexpected, the unsuspected. The term mneme comes to the forefront, meaning simple evocation without any endeavors. The oscillation between these two acts participates evidently in (re)constructing of the fragmentary individual identity which reflects also the collective one. Indeed, the specific structure of the novel, which includes fragments, echoes and insertions, not only imitates the functioning of a memory stigmatized by cheating and forgetting, but also reveals the ambition to find the parentage of the collective identity, and thus that of humanity.
Anamnesis, Collective memory, Manipulation and falsification of memory, Mneme, P. Ricœur, Quest for an identity, Work of memory