R. Lachmann


Cultural memory and the Role of Literature

Контрапункт: Книга статей памяти Г.А. Белой. М.: РГГУ, 2005, с. 357-372


О статье Ренаты Лахманн «Культурная память и роль литературы»


          In my presentation I intend to discuss the mnemonic construction of the world, that is, the ways by which human beings attempt to recapture the past. I shall describe several paradigms incorporating different methods and techniques for dealing with the past as they originated or developed in mythological traditions and various scholarly disciplines. Some are attempts at the conceptual mastery of the world, some tend to be pragmatic techniques for remembering. The paradigms may be subsumed under different headings: the art of memory, the encyclopedic representation of knowledge, and the narrative reproduction of the past. I shall call these mnemonic paradigms «the mnemotechnical», «the encyclopedic» and «the diegetic». I should add that I do not intend to discuss the philosophical, psychological, and sociological theories of memory, although I shall take up some of the key concepts accumulated in the history of these disciplines but only to the extent that they shed light on the mnemonic construction of the world.

         The mnemotechnical paradigm has a legendary source. The story of its invention by the Greek poet Simonides Melicus, passed down by Cicero' and Quintilian, conceals an ancient myth narrating the development of the art of memory, at the threshold between an ancient epoch of ancestor cults from a later time when the deceased were mourned but not worshipped. The fundamental concepts of the art, place (locus), and image, (imago), may be derived from the old cults. But the object of the disguised legend, mnemotechnics, has been handed down only in its postmythical form: as a prescription for acts of recollection, and on the other hand, as a tool for both the structuring and the presentation, open or encoded, of knowledge. (Both aspects are central in Frances Yates's seminal history of the art of memory 1).

         The art of memory is τεχνη of a special kind. It was institutionalized as a discipline that decisively shaped an influential tradition in European culture. It serves as a pragmatic aid that helps to improve and sharpen recollection. Beyond that it is established as a distinct part of the cultural domain (the social stock of knowledge), so that generation after generation can draw upon its contents. No other art or science of antiquity has been legitimized through such a detailed legend of its origin as that of the ars memoriae; none is linked with an inventor whose name has been so emphatically inscribed in cultural memory as that of Simonides through the marble tablet of Paros.

         The invention of mnemotechnics inspired a hybrid myth containing those tales of memoria that were later to unfold in rhetorical, postrhetorical, and neorhetorical traditions. Several key concepts, which helped to shape various styles of memoria, had their source in the mythical tales: forgetting and remembering (as mechanisms that establish a culture), the storing of knowledge (as a tradition's strategy for survival), the need for cultural experience to be preserved by a bearer (of memory) as witness, or as text. The myth anticipates the competition in mnemotechics between writing and image, and the copresence of the working of memory and death.

          Preserving cultural memory involves something like an apparatus for remembering by duplication, by the representation of the absent through the image (phantasma or simulacrum), by the objectification of memory (as power and ability, as a space of consciousness, or as thesaurus), and by the prevention of forgetting through the retrieval of images (the constant recuperation of lost meaning).

         The legend tells of an earthquake which caused the building, where the feasters at a banquet were seated in a certain order, to collapse. It tells of the mutilation of their faces, so that it was impossible to recognize them and to remember their names. The poet Simonides, was the only one to survive the catastrophe by the intervention of the twin gods Castor and Pollux (the Dioscurai), He was able to attach the original names to the unrecognizable faces by recalling the seat order at the banquet.

         The poet acts as a witness to the old, abandoned order that has been rendered unrecognizable by an epochal break. He restores this order through an «inner writing» and reading, using images that function in the same way as letters. It is the experience of forgetting that turns devastation into disorder. The forgetting of order, as a subjective factor, and the destruction of order, as an objective factor, go hand in hand.

       Forgetting is the catastrophe, a given semiotic order is obliterated. It can only be restored by instituting a discipline that reestablishes semiotic «generation» and interpretation. At the beginning of memoria as art stands the effort to transform the work of mourning into a technique. The finding of images heals what has been destroyed: the art of memoria restores shape to the mutilated victims and makes them recognizable by establishing their place in life. Only through the reconstruction of the collocatio, the arrangement or sequence in which they sat as they feasted, can images of their faces be produced that makes possible the naming and identifying of their bodies. Those so identified can then be interred.

        The significance of the legend, or mythical narrative, emerges in the retellings by Cicero and Quintilian. With somewhat different accents, they both define mnemonics as imagination, as a combination of the experience of order and the invention of images. Images as representatives of things, res, and names, verba, to be remembered are registered in preordained spatial arrangements and deposited in imaginary spaces such as temples, public places, spacious rooms. When the mind traverses such depositories of mnemic images, the images are recollected, arranged in a series and then made to revert into the elements for which they substituted.

        What is important in Cicero's version of the Simonides legend is that it conceals its mythological background and that it disregards the layer of meaning formed by the cult of commemoration and ancestor worship. The technique recommended by Cicero refers specifically to the memorization of texts; he mentions the invention of mnemotechnics in his De oratore. For Cicero it is speech that has to be conceptualized and remembered, and not so much the ancestors (to whom the speech may nonetheless be addressed). Cicero's metamorphic fabula demonstrates the process of transformation from cult to commemoration.

        Cicero's version of the Simonides legend marks the point where mnemotechnics begins to serve practical rhetoric. Here, the way the world is to be conceived is linked with the way in which its elements are to be recovered. The ordering of knowledge leads to the

formation of systems; the representation of what is absent, to the formation of models. When it is a question of system formation, the completeness of memorized knowledge, the repeatability of knowledge, classification, etc., we find that spatial conceptions dominate pictorial ones. When it is a question of model building, interpretation, or conceptualization, however, the imaginative dominates the spatial.

         In his interpretation of the Simonides-legend Cicero offers a new insight into the relation between image and script. He equates the fundamental factors of mnemotechnics, locus and imago, with the wax tablet, cera, and the letter, littera. These equations, wax tablet-mnemonic place, letter-image are essential in his argument. In the second book of De oratore the work of memory requires the sketching of an inner image. This inner image must designate the object that is to be remembered, an object that is invisible, no longer present. The image becomes the visible sign for that object etching itself in the memory place. The images are registered in the mnemonic space-just as letters are scratched into a writing tablet.

        Cicero's and Quintilian's concept of the image has Greek sources (their terms imago, effigies and simulacrum are the equivalents of the Greek term phantasma). In Aristotle's treatise On memory and recollection the phantasma functions as a mnemonic medium which represents objects once perceived by the. senses. However, the interpretation of the phantasma is ambiguous. It functions not only as the representative of something absent and past but also as its deceptive, fraudulent reproduction.

        The conception of the feigning of imagines or simulacra, as taken up by Quintilian, includes a loss of similarity that leads to a distorting vision of things. For Quintilian, the advocate of classical representation notions, this is a vitium animae, which he consequently rejects. The skepticism concerning the image-bound practice of remembering culminates in what Frances Yates named an "inner iconoclasm". The idea of a system-oriented representation prevails and replaces iconographic mnemonics 2. The encyclopedic paradigm emerges.

        In the 17th century the process of accumulating knowledge and of ordering it systematically reached its peak. Representations of knowledge now follow the encyclopedic paradigm. The Baroque period is marked by the emergence of different modes governing the organization and transmission of knowledge. The programme



underlying these modes originated with Raimundus Lullus, the Catalan Franciscan of the 13th century. The German Jesuit Athanasius Kircher of the Collegium Romanum, scientist, scholar, linguist and founder of Egyptology represents one model, Johannes Amos Comenius, Bishop of the Moravian-Bohemian Brotherhood, philosopher and pedagogue in the Erasmian tradition, another 3. Kircher constructs a sophisticated edifice of erudition based on calculation and his ars combinatoria in order to reveal the inner structure of the world hidden in the accumulated data, Comenius formulates a lucid view of the nature of learning: things to be known and names to be remembered. Whereas Kircher relies on numbers and letters, Comenius prefers language combined with imagery. Both strive for an exhaustive encyclopedic summary of knowledge. Kircher's diagrams in his Ars Magna Sciendi sive combinatoria (1669) employ numeric and alphabetic devices derived from the Lullistic tradition. Comenius' Orbis sensualium pictus (1658) invites adolescents to enter the visible, perceptible world with the aid of pictura and nomenclatura, which comprise all fundamental things, actions and notions of the world. The combination of pictura and nomenclatura replaces and amplifies the traditional category for the preservation of accumulated knowledge: the topica. In making use of evidentia, enargei, a rhetorical as well as a mnemonic device, Comenius modifies the Simonedian art of memory. The imagines in Simonides' art, located at distinct loci, replace the things to be remembered, they are imaginary products. The procedure could be called an activation of inward memory. The Orbis pictus of Comenius materializes this procedure: imagines are visible and refer directly to the object they represent (i.e., they are not to be retranslated).

         Kircher's methods of accumulation and representation, including categorization and comparison, consist of lists of alphabets, languages and religious beliefs, exotic objects, curiosities of nature, art, and science (the latter were exhibited in the museum he founded in the Collegio Romano 4). At the same time he follows a tendency to abbreviation, to a steganographic notation of knowledge, a cryptographic transmission of knowledge 5. Memory is no longer stimulated by the emotionall appeal of striking images; the principle of similitude is abandoned and replaced by abstraction. Yet a visual dimension marks even the pictureless representation: knowledge is inscribed in places. The order of the diagrams, the number-letter edifices are made visible. In Kircher' case, abbreviation, amplification, systematisation and abstraction serve as mnemonic devices.

        Comenius' Orbis pictus combines the ars memorativa with the concept of visualisation. The totality of knowledge is represented by a set of principles taking recourse to an imagery which encompasses or rather condenses the fundamentalia of the world in images. The commemorative function of images in his Orbis pictus encompasses 150 elements.

        Both Kircher and Comenius strive for an ars generalis, a clavis universalis, capable of representing the sum total of existing knowledge. The mnemonic concept underlying the combinatory network externalizes memory in diagrams. Comenius' Orbis pictus also externalizes memory but does so in the form of a book to be read and seen. Both models reappear in modern systems by which knowledge is transmitted. Whereas the former, in a manner of speaking, has a dehumanizing aspect, the latter, not surprisingly, became one of the leading pedagogical manuals and is considered to be part of a tradition proceeding down to the most current methods of audiovisual instruction. The Ars combinatoria is discussed these days as a significant step in the early history of computer logic.

         There were other attempts at replacing the ancient mnemotech-nics that preceded the diagrammatic and the picture-nomenclatura procedures. I am referring to an outstanding example of a scenic representation, Giulio Camillo's Theatro della memoria, built for Francis I of France in the 16th century. Camillo's amphitheatrical architecture was well known to the learned public of the time. It consisted of nine ranks and seven sections which were dominated by symbols of the planets and the sephirot, and rested on a foundation of drawers which contained the fundamental texts of humankind It made the idea of an ordo-memoria visible. The storage of astral, mythological, allegorical and textual data arranged in a strict order and structured by grades and sections, is considered a revolutionary act in the history of ars memorativa6. It suspended the traditional idea of memorizing. In order to be exposed to the collected stock of knowledge, the disciple merely needed to enter the theatre and take a position in its centre. Placed on the scene as a passive actor he did not have to do anything but to allow the elements of knowledge, arranged on the ranks, to act upon him. Camillo's was the idea that energy emanated from knowledge, that it was concentrated in the building, and that it would penetrate the disciple - an idea which he gained from speculations about astral influence. Imbued with knowledge, the disciple was no longer bound to memorize, nor even to learn.

          The last paradigm, the diegetic, encompasses divergent modes of recording the past. This recording, or recalling, is a complex and controversial process of reconstruction which takes place in literal and oral genres: myth, epos, historiography, and, of course the historic novel history fiction.

          In societies without mnemotechnical concepts and without disciplines established for their cultivation, this paradigm represents the totality of memory. It reflects the various ways in which collective life is organized. Narration has always been a form of memorizing and recording. In the epic tradition reproduction and repetition of oral texts (having recourse to certain schemes in metrics, epitheta ornantia and syntactic parallelisms) are such forms of memorizing. At the same time they record events of the heroic past which are constitutive for the way the epic community understands itself.

          The diegetic paradigm encompasses not only narration but also rules for the commemorative acts performed in society. The selective treatment of the past (which regularly provokes opposition from those who hold different ideas about what deserves to be incorporated in the cultural tradition) is connected to rituals of commemoration, the veneration of places (graveyards, war monuments), and the functioning of institutions (such as museums, national libraries etc).

          Certain types of historiography tend to institutionalize cultural memory, and certain models of memory have an impact on the writing of history. The principles giving form to memory also shape the articulation of history, and the principles guiding the writing of history act upon the formation of memory. An antagonism between memory and the writing of history arises, when a cherished memory is kept alive in spite of its' being proven false by conscientious historiographic reconstruction of the past. New disclosures and reintepretations of documents, the discovery of war atrocities, uncovering their traces in mass-graves, may alter the entire edifice built up in cultural memory. A past that was venerated as heroic may be thus lost or radically reinterpreted. The alternative is to deny the truth of certain findings because, if they were accepted everything that was taken for granted about the past would break down. Entire periods of history are thus either demo-nized or glorified.

          If societies contain groups, e.g., social classes, that hold antagonistic ideologies, obviously an interpretation - or re-interpretation of the past which is acceptable to one is anathema to the other. Controversial memories emerge - emphasising certain historical data and omitting others. Under certain circumstances, compromise solutions can be negotiated. Criteria of inclusion and exclusion determine the mechanisms of resistance to, or acceptance of, a revision of the past. A striking example from the recent past is the rewriting of the last century of the history of Russia.

          Spectacular erasures of vast sections of a society's or group's memory are known to have occurred. A culture may be profoundly transformed by planned extinction of parts of the past that are intolerable to a ruling elite that arrogates to itself the monopoly of controlling collective memory. The French Revolution and the Russian October Revolution are examples which show how planned attempts to destroy a society's «official» memory, enforced by bureaucratic terreur, reverberate in seemingly arbitrary ways throughout the entire culture. The deletion of visible signs endowed with memory was part of the appalling devastation of urban and and sacral architecture during the recent Balkan wars.

           Such violent attacks on memory cannot themselves escape the general mechanisms which seem to regulate the continuities and discontinuities in the «life» of a culture: the apparent balance of remembering and forgetting, of recollection and oblivion. The selective transmission of the past is based on a complex evaluative procedure which ultimately decides which strands of tradition are kept alive and woven into a whole and which are abandoned. Some elements of the past may loose - or seem to loose - their relevance for the way a society looks at its past and present. They simply fade away, yet may reappear unexpectedly in a new context of collective life. Other elements are deleted and destroyed, seemingly forever. Others, are banished for a time, but may be allowed to return. They may even gain added significance at a later stage 7.



          The role of literature in a culture is obviously linked with the past of the culture in general and that of its own past in particular. Could it be said, perhaps, that literature functions as a mnemonic medium? Can it be assumed that literature evolved along with the art of memory in a parallel process? The crucial problem here is to define the ways in which mnemic imaginatio and poetic imagination interact. Do they mirror each other and comment upon one another? Or is it more plausible to assume that literary iconography necessarily appeals to mnemic iconography, that the image bank of literature is the same as the image bank of memory? Does the image-producing activity of memory incorporate poetic imagination?

          It is difficult to decide which alternative provides the correct answer. It is certainly the case that there are striking parallels between fantasy and memory. They both represent absent objects with images. For both the image is ambiguous, both true and false. However, the alternatives may not be as clear cut, they may not radically exclude one another. In philosophical and aesthetical treatises in antiquity as well as in the works of thinkers of later periods both the parallels between fantasy and memory and their interaction in the form of a coalition between the two are pointed out. In his essay Pleasures of Imagination (1712) the English empiricist Joseph Addison defines primary pleasures as derived from sight, which he calls «the most perfect and most delightful of all our senses», secondary pleasures are pleasures of imagination, «which flow from the ideas of visible objects, when the objects are not actually before the eye, but are called up into our memories, or formed into agreeable visions of things that are either absent of fictitious». Things absent are either due to past impressions or experiences or they are products of fantasy, fictitious. In Giambattista Vico's treatise Szienza Nuova (1744), a third factor enters the coalition between phantasia and memoria, namely ingenium. Vico's argument is based on anthropological conceptions. It defines phantasia, memoria and ingenium as human capacities, capacities that are indivisible from each other. Whereas fantasy transforms what memory offers, ingenium is the capacity which orders and registers what has been remembered. Yet, even ingenium is not an innocent transmitter of the past, since it is related to inventio.

         If we accept the notion that poetry, originally oral poetry, participates in the mnemonic knowledge of imagery in the same way that mnemonics has assimilated the (lost) original legacy of the poetic perception of the world, then we may surmise that, through mnemotech-nics, elementary achievements of imaginative remembering have been pragmatized - inasmuch as these achievements, as acts of memory, serve as the basis of all acts of literature from their very inception in oral art.

          When literature is considered in the light of memory, it appears as the mnemonic art par excellence. Literature is culture's memory, not as a simple recording device but as a body of commemorative actions. Literature inscribes itself in a memory space into which earlier texts have inscribed themselves. It does not leave these earlier texts as it finds them but transforms them in absorbing them. The memory of a text is its intertextuality. Intertextuality, as the term is conceived in literary scholarship, is the semantic interchange, the contact between texts - literary and non-literary.

          Authors draw on other texts, both ancient and recent ones, belonging to their own or another culture and refer to them in various ways. They allude to them, they quote and paraphrase them, they incorporate them. They may use methods such as inversion and resemantisa-tion: as in parody or travesty and they may syncretistically patch together elements from different texts. The reference can be to entire texts, to a textual paradigm, to a genre, to certain elements of a given text, to a stylistic device, to narrative technique, to motifs etc.

         Intertextuality demonstrates the process by which a culture, where «culture» is a book culture, continually rewrites and retran-scribes itself, constantly redefining itself through its signs. Writing is both an act of memory and a new interpretation, by which every new text is etched into memory space.

         I should like to stress that the memory of the text is formed by the intertextuality of its references. Intertextuality arises in the act of writing inasmuch as each new act of writing is a traversal of the space between existing texts. By inserting itself into the mnemonic space between texts, a text, inevitably creates a transformed mnemonic space, a textual depository whose syntax and semantics could be described in the language of the Simonidean mnemotechnics as loci and imagines. In the same way that the wax tablet is replaced by the architecture of memory, the architecture of memory is replaced by the textual space of literature. The text traverses memory spaces and settles into them. At the same time, every added text enriches the mnemonic space which new texts will traverse.


         Literature is a mnemonic medium which not only creates new texts to be remembered but also recovers suppressed knowledge, revives obsolete knowledge and reincorporates formerly rejected unofficial or arcane traditions of knowledge. The particular mode of writing which deals with such knowledge is the literature of the fantastic.

        The fantastic mode of writing pursues the project of creating alternative worlds: the supernatural, the marvellous, the adventurous. In addition, it attempts to compensate for what was lost as a result of cultural constraints 8. That which had been silenced regains its voice, that which was made invisible recaptures its shape and that which was buried is disinterred. The fantastic thus operates as a mnemonic device that makes the forgotten or repressed reappear in the guise of an imagery by which the «real» is connected with the unknown. The real is, on a first level, that which is taken as real in common sense and/or an «officially» legitimated view of reality. On a second level, it includes a representation of that first level in an axiological model. In the fantastic mode of writing, the «real'» is confronted with an otherness: the forgotten, unfamiliar and unseen. In that confrontation, the taken-for-granted categories of presence and representation are displaced. The fantastic world threatens the world of everyday reality with oblivion. Telling examples are to be found in preromantic, romantic and postromantic fanstastic narratives. The Gothic novel likes to clothe its horrors in historical costume, it likes to search for ancestral roots of present catastrophies, and one of its central motifs is the family secret.

         It was literature that supported and nourished obsolete traditions of knowledge, traditions which ran as an undercurrent below the mainstream of Enlightenment. The reinvigoration of counter-enlightenment in Romantic philosophy of nature, especially in Germany, had an enormous impact on the fantastic literature of that time.

          The disciplines of arcane knowledge with their doctrines and practices, the secrets of alchemy, the symbolic language of the kabbala, Anton Mesmer's use of animal magnetism for a therapeutic method all of which Enlightenment rejected and discredited, resurface. At the time, even products of technology such as electrical machines and photography were brought into connection with arcane knowledge. The idea that contact with the dead was possible and could be proved - as in spiritistic seances - «was supported» by certain photographic techniques. The authors of fantastic texts were fascinated by the exclusive nature of secrets, by their ritualistic preservation and transmission, and by the hope of regaining through them long-forgotten insights into human nature and the lost

order of the world. Scientifically not fully approved techniques, such as hypnocures and hypnosis, persisted along - or «under» the enlightened disciplines and sciences proper. Literature with its penchant for the fantastic kept knowledge of these techniques and their results alive in the minds of the reading public. A forgotten past is encountered again in fantastic literature. The recounting of that past heals an occluded memory 9.

         However, the fantastic is not merely a mnemonic medium with a selective passion for restoring displaced and vanished parts of the past. Fantastic literature invents as much as it retrieves. Its speculative potential creates images which arbitrarily cover up the accepted images of mnemonic space. An aggressive ars oblivionalis culminates in the obliteration of accumulated, transmitted knowledge and the creation of counter-memory, in the «conception» of a tabula rasa. This can be seen in some of the narratives of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the representatives of a neo-fantastic strand in the literature of the 20th century. Borges pursues the project of a memory which is to surmount the mnemonic tradition and its culturally sedimented imagery in order to install a chronotope of its own. The destruction of the inherited mnemonic architecture and the topical categories, upon which it was built, opens up space heteronomy and a-topia. Language is stripped of its semantic constraints. The construction of complex alternatives of knowledge, in which deprave.d and illicit modes of thought mix with mental phantasms, follows the logic of non-logic and establishes a monstrously unreal world. The fantastic in Borges appears as a counter-project to the projects of cultural memory and to an imaginary potential that is firmly anchored in tradition. It operates on behalf of the «not yet seen» and the «not yet thought of», and proposes unprecedented designs and experiments in calculation that are to serve the construction of impossible worlds.

         Another mode of the fantastic is science fiction, some of which deserves to be called prognostic. It could be said that it functions as a kind of anticipatory memory. While observing the demands of probability and verisimilitude, it takes up doubtful or rejected scientific theories. Science fiction does not instal the impossible; it rather concentrates on the not yet possible (see Stanislaw Lem 10), using scientific ideas whose speculative potential has not yet been exhausted.

          Authors of literary texts like to explicate their own memory concepts. Some develop intricate «mythopoetic» theories which betray the assimilation of philosophy or literary theory.

          The manifests of avangardist movements (e.g., Italian and Russian futurism) proclaim the death of the established artistic-literary tradition in order to begin anew on its ruins. The corresponding literary theory, formulated by Russian formalism, sees literary (cultural) evolution as an alternation of systems, advocating discontinuity and disrupture as the moving force.

         The concepts of wishful forgetting are not unprecedented. Oblivion has been conceived in terms of a tabula rasa. For Descartes, the erasure of all knowledge, the deletion of received ideas, is the beginning of thinking. As a matter of fact, there are even more radical modes of deleting all traces of the unwanted. The blanching of memory, a term introduced by the medievalist Janet Coleman, defines a certain ascetic practice (exercised in monastic orders). It consists in cathartically erasing in one's imagination all unpleasant or forbidden images. A practice of an ars oblivionalis which could be termed the opposite of mnemotechnics.

         The radical opposite to the programmatic dismissal of the past, advocated by the futurists, is to be found in the movement of the so called Acmeists, a group of Russian postsymbolist poets whose best known representatives were Anna Achmatova and Osip Mandelstam. The latter proposed an elaborate theory of cultural memory which owes some of its constituent ideas to Henri Bergson's notions of time, duration, evolution and memory. The past is grasped as becoming, as deferred meaning that neither was nor is but is always being projected into the future. By treating culture as a kind of macroconsciousness, Mandelstam transposes Bergsonian concepts, that originally related to human consciousnes, to the realm of culture. Retrospection is an approach to history which is carried on by writing. It is an attempt to participate in the past of a culture as a whole.

         Disordered pluralism, the disengagement from divisible, measurable time, the plurivocal answer of the poetic word to the earlier times, the experience of distinct temporal strata - all these aspects of Mandelstam's conceptual imagery are echoes of Bergsonian concepts. Bergson rejected the notion of time as a succession of discrete, infinitely divisible units, and opposed to it the notion of duration (durée). A given temporal whole contains a plurality of times in inner experience. Pure duration is heterogeneous. In human consciousness it is indivisible, it is all flow.

         The proximity of Mandelstam's thought to Bergson is obvious. Remembering is not the restitution of a unified, monadic complex but the recalling of heterogeneous, interrelated strata. For Mandelstam culture is a totality that encompasses the continuous accumulation of elements, which cannot be related to one another in terms of measurable time. In order to make time into an achronic synchrony, Mandelstam extricates it from the iron rule of sequentiality. Heterogeneity is stored in the text and in memory; it is itself a phenomenon of time, just as time is a phenomenon of the heterogeneous.

         In his reading of the Bergsonian concept of time as évolution créatrice and durée irréversible, Mandelstam takes into account Bergson's ideas of past, present, and future, as well as his theory of the role of memory. Bergson's notion of the accumulation of the past in the present led him to postulate a mechanism suppressing those things in memory that are unnecessary for grasping the present. Acmeist memory - deviating from Bergson at this point - is directed expressly against the forgetting of signs, against their utilitarian suppression. For them, durée is possible only as the storing of continually accruing layers of memory. The creative act of writing is immersed in duration. The act of writing prevents that which has been gathered in memory and in remembering from acquiring a definite identity.

        Mandelstam's formulaic statement «Memory triumphs even at the price of death! To die is to remember, to remember is to die» expresses a transindividual concept of memory. Dying as remembering means that the cultural experience stored by an individual (a writer) outlives that same person. Memory enshrined in writing is directed against the destruction of cultural experience. The locus of this transindividual, noninheritable memory is the text 11.

        This mythopoetic interpretation of memory is not far removed from the mnemotechnical concept presented in the first paradigm. The transformation of mnemonic contents into mnemonic images results in spatial pictorialization, in an artificial memory. The rooms or places where the images are deposited are part of a mnemonic architecture. Acmeist memoria renders the concept of mnemonic architecture in a concrete shape. The great mnemonic architecture of the Acmeists is represented by Petersburg. The city is experienced architecture that contains whatever has been deposited in it as a concrete record.

         Mnemonic locations are hypostasized as a storehouse of personal and historical experience, of literature and the general culture of an entire epoch. Sanct Petersburg, the city of the founding Peter I, the city of the Decabrists; Petrograd, the city of revolution and civil war, Leningrad, the city of the siege by the Germans, of death by cold and starvation, they become an allegory of memory. As in the ancient myth telling us about the poet Simonides, who transformed his experience of death and devastation into a discipline of commemoration, these poets of the 20th century, haunted by experiences of death and destruction, endow their texts with the profound strength of commemoration.

        The paradigms I discussed don't follow one another in a temporal sequence, nor are they causally related, nor are they competitive. They are complementary. Even the mnemotechnical paradigm which might seem outdated, continued its career as an undercurrent of mnemonic practice. The encyclopedic paradigm, both in its diagrammatical and its pictorial version, continued developing ever since its beginnings. The diegetic paradigm is the one we constantly apply when reflecting upon remote or recent history. They all reveal the human striving to come to terms with its past and to absorb the knowledge transmitted from it.



1 Frances A. Yates, The Art of Memory. L.: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1966.
2 Cf. my interpretation in: Lachmann R. Memory and Literature. Minneapolis; L: University of Minnesota Press, 1997. P. 4-24.
3 Leinkauf T. Cf. Mundus combinatus. Studien zur Struktur der barock-en Universalwissenschaft am Beispiel Athanasius Kircher (1602-1680). Berlin: Akademie Verlag, 1993.
4 Athanasius Kircher SJ. II Museo del mondo. Ed. Eugenio Lo Sardo. Rome: Edizioni di Luca, 2001. Reinhard Golz, Werner Korthaase, Erich Schafer (Eds.), Comenius und unsere Zeit, Baltmannsweiler: Schneider Verlag Hohengehren, 1996.
5 Eco U. Kircher tra steganografia e poligrafia // II museo del mondo. P. 209-213.
6 Bolzoni L. Lo spettacolo della memoria. (Introduction to Camillo's treatise L'Idea del theatro). Palermo: Sellerio Editore, 1998.
7 Lotman J., Uspenskij B. On the Semiotic Mechanism of Culture // Semeiotike5(1971).

8 Cf.: Jackson R. Fantasy: The Literature of Subversion. L.: Methuen, 1981.
9 Cf.: Lachmann R. Remarks on the Foreign as a Figure of Cultural Ambivalence / Budick S., Iser W. (Eds.) // The Translatibility of Cultures. Stanford/California: Stanford University Press, 1996. P. 282-294.
10 See his fundamental theoretical work: Lem S. Fantastyka i futurolo-gia: In 2 vols. Cracow: Wydawnictwo Literackie Krakdw, 1970.
11 Cf.: Lachmann R. Memory and Literature. P. 231-261.


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       Статья Ренаты Лахманн посвящена проблеме культурной памяти и роли литературы в процессе исторической эволюции.
           О феномене культурной памяти размышляли уже в античные времена в связи с вопросами познания мира (при помощи искусства в том числе). Мифологические сюжеты также стимулировали формирование художественной памяти и определяли становление традиции. Забвение прошлого недопустимо и может привести (и приводит) к культурной катастрофе.
        Память всегда оказывается своеобразным посредником между прошлым, настоящим и будущим, при обращении к прошлому более внятно и четко вырисовывается роль человека в движении истории.
         Симонид и Цицерон, Аристотель и философы XVII в. входят в круг размышлений автора, так как каждый из них трактовал по-своему феномен культурной памяти. По мнению автора, культурная рефлексия во многом определяет характер литературного творчества и социокультурные процессы.
       Аккумулирование знаний, относящихся к разным культурным периодам, приводит к возникновению явлений интертекстуальности.
          Память культуры - особый и уникальный феномен, оказывающий значительное воздействие на историческое развитие, особенно в гуманитарном аспекте.






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