Jonathan White (University of Essex, UK)
Yu Min (Claire) Chen (University of Maryland, College Park, USA)
Pingta Ku (National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan)
Kang-Po Chen (National Taipei University of Technology, Taiwan)
“The moments of the past do not remain still; they retain in our memory the motion which drew them towards the future, towards a future which has itself become the past, and draw us on in their train.”
Derived from Greek mythology, “Mnemosyne” (Μνημοσύνη) alludes to the delight and sweetness of memory. Additionally, the term is related to the mnemonic (mnēmē), which connotes memory and remembering. The methods for capturing, describing, and expressing the concept of memory have long presented writers with a challenge and fascination. Memory also has an extended connotation of nostalgia. In Greek, nostalgia is comprised of the word νόστος (nóstos), meaning “homecoming,” and ἄλγος (álgos), which means “pain” or “ache.” This is a type of psychological melancholy in which one yearns to return to the good old days or a lovely childhood.
One of the most famous examples of memory/remembrance transcending boundaries is In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu). Proust introduces the concept of involuntary memory (“mémoire involontaire”) via a taste of madeleine or a piece of music (“La Sonate de Vinteuil”) as the reader travels back in time and through space.
As Jacques Derrida points out, memory is elusive: the French word “mémoire(s)” defies translation because its meanings alter in masculine (“un mémoire”: a memorandum), feminine (“la mémoire”: aptitude of memory), and plural forms (“les mémoires”: memories).
“Memory” in Mandarin combines two Chinese characters: 記 (Ji) and 憶 (Yi). The first character “記” (Ji) contains “言” (yán: words; to talk), and “己” (jǐ: self). The second character “憶” (Yi) comprises “心” (xin: heart; mind), and “意” (Yi: idea; meaning; wish; desire). This phrase, taken together, signifies that one may speak or write down what is on their minds and thoughts. In Mandarin, the term “memory” connotes a type of self-recording and autobiographical writing. However, how do we retrieve unarticulated individuals and events? How do we remember and forget?
The word “Lemoyne” (forgetting) derives from the Greek word (λήθη) Lethe, one of the five rivers of Hades. The term connotes “forgetfulness,” “oblivion,” and “concealment.” German philosopher Harald Weinrich studied the Greek term “a-lethe-ia” (ἀλήθεια)––meaning “un-forgetfulness” and “un-concealment” of the truth––and suggested that “one can conceive truth as the unforgotten or the not-to-be-forgotten.”
This special issue aims to imagine spaces that store memories, examine the tension between the captive and the fugitive, and explore memories of blissful and difficult times. How tangible is memory in visual or audio terms, and how can it relate to human senses? How does memory selection work? Is it arbitrary, or is it an act of obsession? What are the boundaries between truth and fiction, imagination and reality? Is memory forever lost, or do we unconsciously preserve and replicate the past? Are there instances where forgetting is preferable to remembering?
Topics include (but are not limited to) the following:
- Platonic memory
- Reason, memory, and the Self
- Imagination and memory
- Involuntary memory and Proustian memory
- Remembering/forgetting; the captive and the fugitive
- Body, habit, and pure memory
- Cultural/collective memory
- “Post-memory,” or the effects of global events or systems (e.g. slavery, colonialism, the Holocaust) on succeeding generations
- Wars, truth, false memory syndrome, and trauma
- Travel, transnationalism, and memory
- Temporality and memory
- Phenomenology and memory
- Place, space, and memory
- Colonial/postcolonial memory
- Immigrants, diasporic groups, and Nostalgia
- Psychoanalysis and neuroscience: memory, amnesia, schizophrenia
- Memory fabrication: storytelling, magical realism, and memory
- Memory in art and films
- Memory that is encapsulated within museums, monuments, and memorials
- Virtual memory, prosthetic memory, and electronic memory
- Digital memory and technologies: A.I./robot/machine learning/metaverse
Please follow the submission guidelines detailed on The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture website (http://www.wreview.org/index.php/submission-guidelines.html) and submit your articles online(https://mc03.manuscriptcentral.com/wr) by 3 June 2024.
The Wenshan Review of Literature and Culture, founded in 1995, is an open-access peer-reviewed journal of literary and cultural studies, and one of the most reputable academic journals in Taiwan. It offers a unique space to bring together scholars from around the world to address important issues and debates in a wide range of research areas. It is currently indexed in: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI); SCOPUS; EBSCOhost; MLA International Bibliography; Taiwan Humanities Citation Index (THCI).
Jonathan White is Emeritus Professor at the University of Essex. He wrote his Ph.D. on Shakespeare for the University of Cambridge between 1969 and 1974. From 1972 to 2009 he taught widely at Essex University on English and European literature courses, classical to modern, including postcolonial studies. His main long-term interests are in European cultural history, particularly Italian and French literature and other art forms. Over recent years he has increasingly worked on tracing cultural lineages from the Renaissance and Enlightenment through to the modern age. He has edited Recasting the World: Writing after Colonialism (1993), and published Italy: The Enduring Culture (2001) and Italian Cultural Lineages (2007). For two semesters of 2002-2003 he held a fellowship at the Italian Academy of Columbia University, New York; then in late 2003 another at the Humanities Research Centre of the Australian National University. He held a further, visiting research professorship at the National Sun Yat-Sen University in Taiwan for four months in 2008.
Professor White’s ongoing work on global inhumanities and their commemoration has given rise to an article on Derek Walcott's handling of slavery and massacres of Native Americans; to another on the Korean War Veterans' Memorial in Washington D.C.; and to a journal contribution grounded in his childhood memories of 1950s USA that extends to general theories of “memory mapping” in relation to cultural history. Professor White’s most recent work are The City and the Ocean: Journey, Meomey, Imagination (2012) and Landscape, Seasapce and the Eco-Spatial Imagination (2018), both of which were co-edited with Professor I-Chun Wang of the National Sun Yat-Sen University.
Yu Min (Claire) Chen is a visiting assistant professor in the School of Language, Literature, and Cultures at the University of Maryland College Park. She received her Ph.D. in Comparative Literature at Indiana University Bloomington with a minor in literary and film Theory. Her primary research interests include Comparative Literature, Asian American literature, transnational writing, (literature of Diaspora), and film studies. She published her book of prose and poetry, Memory Zero Celsius, and To the One in Alaska, under the name of Yijie Chen. Her publications appear in Interface: Journal of European Languages and Literatures, Monde Chinois, a/b: Auto/Biography Studies, and Chinese Literature and Thought Today among many other.
Pingta Ku is Associate Professor of English at National Taipei University of Technology. He received his BA from National Taiwan University, his MA from Royal Holloway, University of London, and his Ph.D. from University College London. He teaches and researches mainly in the areas of Irish and modernist anglophone literatures. His current project focuses on how expatriate anglophone modernists in continental Europe represented the collusion between fashion and fascism––or, in James Joyce’s Wakean portmanteau, facsion––between the two world wars. He has published journal articles and book chapters on anglophone modernism and cultural studies in Concentric: Literary and Cultural Studies, James Joyce Journal, Ex-position, Chung-Wai Literary Quarterly, After Sailing to Ireland, and Keywords of Taiwan Theory.
Kang-Po Chen is Assistant Professor at the Department of English, National Taipei University of Technology. He received his BA and MA from National Chengchi University and his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. His research interest mainly lies in British Romanticism, especially the works of William Blake, with a particular focus on religion, eroticism, and violence. He also has a keen interest in French thinker Georges Bataille's philosophies. His publications include journal articles in Blake/An Illustrate Quarterly, The Wenshan Review, and Romantik: Journal for the Study of Romanticisms. His newest publication is a forthcoming book chapter on Blake's representation of dreams and its relation to gender propriety in the eighteenth century.