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Ricoeur and figures of memory and forgetting in the historical narrative

Ricoeur et figures de la mmoire et de loubli dans le rcit historique

Abstract
This article considers Ricoeurs intended task of bridging the gap between Memory,
History, Forgetting (2000) and Time and Narrative (1983-85). Accordingly, we explore the
levels that interweave representation as object (how social agents represent their actions)
and representation as (historical) narrative (how historians represent what the social
agents represent of their present). We analyze how the way in which the social agents
represent their actions bends both memory and forgetting. Thereafter, we develop the
thesis that the way historians represent what the social agents represent of their present
should bind memory and forgetting together as well. Eventually, the engagement
between representation as object and representation as narrative allows us to propose
new figures of memory-forgetting involvement on the side of narrative: one-dimensional
memory-forgetting; scalable memory-forgetting; and displaceable forgetting. These
figures correspond to the ones Ricoeur proposes on the side of the object: forgetting and
blocked memory; forgetting and manipulated memory; and commanded forgetting:
amnesty.

Keywords: Paul Ricoeur, history, narrative, memory, forgetting.

Rsum : Cet essai considre la tche que Ricoeur envisage de combler l'cart entre
Mmoire, l'Histoire, l'Oubli (2000) et Temps et Rcit (1983-85). En consquence, nous
explorons les niveaux qui entretiennent la reprsentation en tant quobjet (comment les
agents sociaux reprsentent leurs actions) et la reprsentation en tant que rcit
(comment les historiens reprsentent ce que les agents sociaux reprsentent de leur
prsent). Nous analysons comme la faon dont les agents sociaux reprsentent leurs
actions plie la fois la mmoire et l'oubli. Par la suite, nous dveloppons la thse
correspondante selon laquelle la faon dont les historiens reprsentent ce que les agents
sociaux reprsentent de leur prsent galement plie ensemble la mmoire et l'oubli.
Finalement, l'engagement entre la reprsentation en tant qu'objet et la reprsentation
en tant que rcit nous permet de proposer de nouvelles figures de l'implication de loublie
et la mmoire du ct du rcit : mmoire-oubli unidimensionnel ; mmoire-
oubli chellable; oubli dplaable. Celles-ci correspondent aux figures que Ricoeur
propose du ct de l'objet : l'oubli et la mmoire empche ; L'oubli et la mmoire
manipule ; et loublie command : lamnistie.
Mots-cls: Paul Ricoeur, histoire, rcit, mmoire, oubli.

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Introduction

In Time and Narrative (hereafter TN1)1, Ricoeur declares that Narration [] implies

memory2; nevertheless, the relationship between forgetting and narrative is not

mentioned. Seventeen years later, Ricoeurs private preoccupation in Memory, history,

forgetting (hereafter MHF)3 admits that, not only memory, but forgetting as well, is

necessarily associated with historical narrative, but this association is a lacuna in his

oeuvre:

to say nothing of my gaze directed back now over a long lifeRflexion faite (looking
back)it is a question here of returning to a lacuna in the problematic of Time and
Narrative and in Oneself as Another, where temporal experience and the narrative
operation are directly placed in contact, at the price of an impasse with respect to
memory and, worse yet, of an impasse with respect to forgetting, the median levels
between time and narrative.4

This article answers to a single question: is it possible to deepen the relationship between

MHF and TN1? Accordingly, our major intent is to understand how memory and forgetting

are narratively produced.

MFH provides a clue that abridge the alleged lacuna. In fact, the narrative effort involves

what Ricoeur calls the dialectic of representation5 that binds together the two meanings

of historical representation. On the one hand, representation as object (how social agents

represent their actions) and, on the other, representation as historical narrative (how

historians represent what the social agents represent of their present):

One can say in the first place that the historian seeks to represent to himself the past
in the same way social agents represent the social bond and their contribution to this
bond to themselves, in this way making themselves readers of their existing and their
acting in society, and in this sense historians of their own present. 6

MHF develops the representation as object (how social agents represent their actions)

through an inspection about the involvement of memory and forgetting. Social agents

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produce a historical representation that is basically the limits set between memory and

forgetting. Ricoeur describes this involvement according to three figures: Forgetting and

Blocked Memory, Forgetting and Manipulated Memory and Commanded Forgetting:

Amnesty.

It is our aim to filling out the lacuna between MHF and TN1 through the development of

the memory-forgetting involvement according to the representation as narrative (how

historians represent what the social agents represent of their present). Thereby, we

develop this involvement according to three more figures: (4) one-dimensional memory-

forgetting; (5) memory and scalable memory-forgetting; and (6) displaceable forgetting.

the memory-forgetting involvement related to the representation as object

In Memory, history, forgetting Ricoeur binds the representation as object (how social

agents represent their actions) to the mutual involvement between memory and

forgetting7. Two chapters in Ricoeurs 642-page-long book gather together the two sides

of the historical involvement between memory and forgetting. Ricoeur approaches the

memory-forgetting involvement on the side of forgetting in Chapter 3 (Forgetting) of

MHFs third part. Ricoeur develops this chapter in three sections: Forgetting and the

Effacing of Traces8, Forgetting and the Persistence of Traces9, and The Forgetting of

Recollection: Uses and Abuses 10. This last section is subdivided into three figures of

forgetting: Forgetting and Blocked Memory,11 Forgetting and Manipulated Memory12

and Commanded Forgetting: Amnesty.13 These three figures of the forgetting of

recollection retrieve three figures of memory previously presented in MHFs firs part:

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Blocked Memory14, Manipulated Memory15, and Obligated Memory16. Thereby, the

second chapter (The Exercise of Memory: Uses and Abuses 17) develops the historical

involvement between memory and forgetting on the side of memory.

What is then the memory-forgetting involvement?

Overwriting Kants Dialects of Pure Reason, we obtain a suitable version for the Ricoeurian

memory-forgetting involvement: the representation as object includes a natural

antithetic [forgetting], for which one does not need to ponder or to lay artificial snares,

but rather into which reason [memory] falls of itself and even unavoidably.18 The

natural antithetic of forgetting never ceases to exist, as long as memory exists.

Differently from Kants First Critique, though, the memory-forgetting involvement does

not refer to pure conditions of reason, but to practical conditions that relates

consciousness to historical ambience. In short, the conditions of memory-forgetting shuns

...the specter of a memory that would never forget anything 19 and replaces it with a

dialectical question: Could forgetting then no longer be in every respect an enemy of

memory, and could memory have to negotiate with forgetting, groping to find the right

measure in its balance with forgetting?20 This question receives accordingly a dialectical

response: forgetting can be so closely tied to memory that it can be considered one of

the conditions for it.21

These Ricoeurian assumptions indicates that the memory-forgetting figures (Forgetting

and Blocked Memory,22 Forgetting and Manipulated Memory23 and Commanded

Forgetting: Amnesty24) are the weights for the representation as object (how social

agents represent their actions) to draw out its historical balance. We will henceforth

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inspect the figures of the memory-forgetting according to Ricoeur in order to detail their

consequences for historical representation.

The three figures of memory-forgetting involvement related the representation as

object

Ricoeur inspects forgetting and blocked memory (first figure of memory-forgetting

involvement) in Freudian terms, by understanding it as neurotic consciousness that seeks

its release. When dealing with memory in the pathological-therapeutic sense, the issue of

impairment of memories arises because of the existence of shocking events that lead to

the unhealthy repetition of traumatic scenes. The work of mourning must be carried

out, so as to reproduce forgotten facts as memory, and no longer as a repressed trauma.

A similar process goes on with historical mass events. As with great funeral celebrations,

the assumption is that in the fundamental structure of collective existence, violence acts

as the prerogative that generates contractual relationships between subjects25. These

acts may be deemed glorious by some, but belittled by others. Their celebration, by

annulling the memory of the other, leaves wounds open, in need of a cure. 26 At this level

of the involvement, the figure of forgetting can be described both as an unhealthily

repeated representation that prevents the subject/society to make an accessible memory

of a past trauma and the trace of an unforgettable (though inaccessible) past.27

It is also in the border between personal and collective representaiotn that one can speak

of forgetting and manipulated memory (second figure of memory-forgetting

involvement). At this level, memory-forgetting involvement makes the representation as

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object overlaps into ideology28. The phenomenon of ideology, according to Ricoeur, can

be observed in three layers which depict the memory-forgetting uses and abuses:

distortions of reality, the legitimation of the system of power, and the integration of the

common world.29 Ideology can act legitimately either as a silent constraint exerted on the

mores of a traditional society, that is, as an intermediary; or as a legitimation of the

authority of the current status or power, as its justification. At the same time, what

ideology intermediates or legitimates is the result of a a secret complicity, which makes

forgetting a semi-passive, semi-active behavior, as is seen in forgetting by avoidance

(fuite), the expression of bad faith and its strategy of evasion which results in a wanting-

not-to-know.30

The ideological avoidance is in fact a dissimulated forgetting that can be contrasted and

replaced by the commanded forgetting (third figure of memory-forgetting involvement).

The imperative of memory imposes itself as a federating force inasmuch as in all the

virtues that it wrests from the closed-circuit of the self with itself. The duty of memory is

the duty to do justice, through memories, to an other than the self.31 , as long as We

are indebted to those who have gone before us.32 It is the duty towards the victims.33

The commanded forgetting then becomes the arbitrary measure that promotes justice

from amnesty, the political instrument that aims to establish civic peace from the

suspension of ongoing processes and judicial proceedings. Ricoeur reminds us of the fact

that amnesty bears a phonetic and semantic proximity to amnesia and the denial of

memory promotes the erasing of crimes likely to protect the future from the errors of

the past.34

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The next step we must take is to understand how the involvement of memory-

forgetting emerges in historical narrative, since the memory and forgetting are the

median levels between time and narrative35 and

it was due to the mediating function of the narrative that the abuses of memory were
made into abuses of forgetting. In fact, before the abuse, there was the use, that is the
unavoidably selective nature of narrative.36

The memory-forgetting involvement related to the representation as narrative

Michel de Certeau coined the expression historiographical operation as the tripartite

division of a social place, a practice and the construction of a text.37 Ricoeur proposes a

different tripartite division:

a) documentary phase: I shall call the documentary phase the one that runs from

the declarations of eyewitnesses to the constituting of archives, which takes as its

epistemological program the establishing of documentary proof. 38

b) explanation/understanding phase: Next I shall call the

explanation/understanding phase the one that has to do with the multiple uses of the

connective because responding to the question why?: Why did things happen like that

and not otherwise?39

c) representative phase: Finally, I shall call the representative phase the putting

into literary or written form of discourse offered to the readers of history. 40

The representative phase develops the narrative effort of the historiographical operation

and its role is unifying the two other phases: in this sense, representation in its narrative

aspect [] does not add something coming from the outside to the documentary and

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explanatory phases, but rather accompanies and supports them.41 The representative

phase or historical narrative gives back the involvement between memory and forgetting,

because the dialectic between referring to absence and to visibility, already

perceivable in the represented object, is to be deciphered in terms of the operation of

representation [narrative].42 Representation as narrative includes representation as

object: how historians represent what the social agents represent of their present 43. In

this path, we find in MHF the required way back to TN1.

The key element that embeds the representation as object and representation as

historical narrative is emplotment. In TN1, Ricoeur turns to Aristotles Poetics to define

the term. Tragedy is the most well-defined product in narrative terms, because it is the

recognizable reproduction of human action.44: to put an event in a plot is to state

something intelligible and therefore something specific. 45 The narrative depends totally

on the emplotment as its essence; the plot drives the reproduction of action without

neglecting its practical realism that allows the reader or viewer to recognize him or herself

in the representation: By means of the plot, goals, causes, and chance are brought

together within the temporal unity of a whole and complete action. 46 Most of all,

developing a plot allows harmony to prevail over dissonance, for it produces the

discordant concordance47 that gives unity to the temporal dispersion of events when a

story is narrated. But emplotment the victory of unity over the dispersion. It requires that

temporality is represented through an instance that refers to intentionality. This one is

the consciousness of something, as Husserl understood, but in Ricoeur it is also upheld by

social and cultural context. 48 When emplotment and intentionality fuse at the heart of

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historical representation, the narrative accomplishes a mimetic act. In fact, mimesis

details and organizes the narrative effort in three parts (mimesis I, II and III).

According to Ricoeur, the figures of memory-forgetting related representation as object

(how social agents represent their actions in consciousness) are: (1) Forgetting and

Blocked Memory,49 (2) Forgetting and Manipulated Memory50 and (3) Commanded

Forgetting: Amnesty51. Our aim, henceforth, is to develop three more figures of the

memory-forgetting involvement. We create accordingly new terminology to provide

these figures with an accurate outline: (4) one-dimensional memory-forgetting; (5)

scalable memory-forgetting; and (6) displaceable memory-forgetting. It is according to

the three mimesis that the memory-forgetting involvement is now portrayed as

promoting three new figures related to representation as historical narrative (how

historians represent what the social agents represent of their present). Explicitly, we are

extending Ricoeurs intellectual heritage

The three figures of memory-forgetting involvement related to the representation as

narrative

Human beings are immersed in symbolic automatisms as if in an environment that

surrounds them and guarantees vital resources for their mode of being. According to

Ricoeur, these symbolic structures differentiate action from the mere physical

movement.52 Symbols are active as far as they are interpreters of the world of action,

enabling it to be almost text, meaning that symbols provide the rules of meaning as a

function of which this or that behavior can be interpreted.53 In the context of a

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classroom, for example, everyone immediately understands that if pupils raise their

hands, this means they would like to make a comment or ask a question related to the

content of the lesson. These symbolic automatisms are the most basic acts of

emplotment54.

The pre-understanding of action that emplotment provides unfolds multidimensional

temporality. The temporal structure is diversified according to the symbolic structures

that the agent establishes to reach the purposes of an action. 55 Ricoeur summarizes the

multi-layered dimension of time as consisting of a present of the future, a past

present and a present of the present.56 The multidimensional character of time in the

level of narrative is explained from the perspective of the present. It is presentness. The

historical narrative contains intelligible structures capable of representing the symbols

and temporality related to historical action. The documentary base of historiography

begins to acquire narrative consistency only as empirical data that symbolizes

presentness. It means that the past present (document) is recovered by the historian as a

living past. The historical narrative recreates a past that is alive like the present of the

present, which by its turn is expectant of a present of the future.

At this mimetic level, the presentness that intelligible symbolic structures offer might as

well generate the type of memory-forgetting related to a failure in the narratively

portrayed presentness. In fact, this failure means that the multidimensional structures of

presentness shrink to present. The present of the present forgets the present of the past

and the present of the future. Reciprocally, the present of the present only remembers

the present of the present. The narrative failure of mimesis described in this section is

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understood as one-dimensional memory-forgetting and it is the fourth figure to form

memory-forgetting involvement.

Mimesis II is the center of the narrative effort, because it relates directly to the

development of the plot, as Ricoeur puts it.57 Its centrality renders an integrating role

with respect to pre-figuration (mimesis I) and temporal refiguration (mimesis III),

according to Ricoeur.58 Emplotment as mimesis II, therefore, is a multiple representative

operation; its performance involves three mediation tasks back and forth in order to that

intertwine mimesis I and III.

The first task concerns the articulation between event and historical narrative. When the

event takes place in the plot, it becomes an integrated unit with an intelligible whole.59

In its second task, emplotment integrates heterogeneous factors related to intentionality,

such as agents, ends, means, interactions, circumstances, unexpected results, etc. 60. In

its turn, the third task of emplotment is to mediate between pre-figured time and

refigured time through temporal resources of its own.61 Together, these three tasks

accomplish the most original and dynamic aspect of mimesis II, because they make the

synthesis of the heterogeneous62. Emplotment assigns to the successive events the

irreversible order and the urge that are characteristic of human actions. As Ricoeur points

out, narrated history then obtains a meaningful unity. 63

Besides these three tasks, two other elements also help configure the narrative act which

is characteristic of the development of the plot in mimesis II: schematism and tradition.

Schematism of imagination is the link created between the author/historian who creates

the emplotment, and the reader. The productive imagination64 enables the narrative

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configuration to be passed on to the reader; once his/her imagination schematized

something narratively, they can reenact the action in the plot. Tradition, in its turn, refers

to cultural heritage, once emplotment can be qualified and recognized through the

various literary genres that perform the link between the emplotments designer and

reader through cultures paradigms. Tradition allows new genres of narrative to arise,

depending on further recognition. In short, mimesis II, exactly because it is both a

narrative operation of representation of human temporality, is also a creative activity

be it for the configuring of emplotments that are recognized by the canon, or for

experimental emplotments that aspire to it. Finally, mimesis IIs schematism and tradition

launch mimesis II towards its limits, given that they already act as preparation for the

reconfiguration that is characteristic of mimesis III.

The making of a meaningful unity in mimesis II has consequences for memory-

forgetting. The focus on unity, to which schematism and tradition concur, tends to make

events more or less significant, depending on the profile that the unity of emplotment

acquires for concrete, specific and dated historiographical operations The memory-

forgetting involvement, thus, is the representative operation carried out by theoretical

maneuvers related to historical emplotment. The historical narrative magnifies or reduces

the shifts the scale in the narrative. Scalable memory-forgetting is the fifth figure of

forgetting associated with the memory-forgetting involvement.

Mimesis III is the intersection of the configured world by emplotment and the world in

which effective action is exhibited and displays its specific temporality. It means, that the

mimesis cicle is concluded at the intersection between the world of text and the world

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of the reader or listener.65 The refiguration involves the problem of reference66 as the

narrative must be embedded in the horizon of the world in which the reader is situated.

In fact, only history can claim a reference inscribed in empirical reality, inasmuch as

historical intentionality aims at events that have actually occurred. 67 The emplotment

provides the reader with the re-enactment of the experienced world. The reconfiguration

sheds the readers present references on a new light and provides her/him provides the

reader with the re-enactment of the experienced world. Accordingly, in mimesis III, the

problem of memory-forgetting emerges as the flexible limits between past and present

references. The refiguration act allows that these limits are displaced according to the

mutual implications of past and present for the reader. Displaceable memory-forgetting

is the sixth figure of the memory-forgetting involvement.

The following table plots the six figures of memory-forgetting according to their main

features.

FIGURES OF MEMORY- MAIN FEATURES

FORGETTING INVOLVEMENT

RICOEURS FIGURES 1) forgetting and blocked Compulsion to repeat

RELATED TO THE memory

REPRESENTATION AS 2) forgetting and gaps in memory assigned to

OBJECT (how social manipulated memory ideological bias

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agents represent their 3) commanded forgetting reconciliation and forgiving

actions) (amnesty)

NEW FIGURES 4) one-dimensional presentness

RELATED TO THE memory-forgetting

REPRESENTATION AS
5) Scalable memory- shifts on conceptual
NARRATIVE (how
forgetting approach (micro to macro
historians represent
scales or vice-versa)
what the social agents
6) Displaceable memory- transposition of the limits
represent of their
forgetting between past and present
present)

Table 1. six figures of memory-forgetting involvement and their main features

In the next, and last part, we will resume the six figures to emphasize their paired

correspondence.

Correspondence between the figures of memory-forgetting involvement

a) First pair: forgetting and blocked memory (first figure) and one-dimensional

memory-forgetting (fourth figure)

In MHF, the unhealthy repetition of a traumatic events turns into an accessible memory

of a past trauma when it is recalled. This process emphasizes the reproduction of the

trauma, a compulsion to repeat that makes memory ill. In this case, forgetting can be both

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an unhealthy repetition that prevents individuals to enact the memory of a past trauma

and collect traces of the event that cannot be forgotten (the unforgettable).

In mimesis I, the configuring act of emplotment is possible to the extent that the human

mind participates in intelligible structures through symbolic elements that symbolize

dimensions of time. Memory-forgetting appears in mimesis I as the narrative symbolizes

only the present of the present, so that historical narrative sticks to presentness.

In short, presentness of a past event that remains present in the one-dimension memory

of narrative has as its counterpart the forgetting instantiated in blocked memory -

compulsion to repeat. Commented [A1]: Gisele, agora que fizemos essa


correspondncia, eu tive vontade de dar. O que vc acha? Te
vem algo a mente, por exemplo, narrativas de reparao a
b) Second pair: forgetting and manipulated memory (second figure) and scalable um povo ou um grupo, por exemplo, repetio de traumas
ou situaes histricas que pareciam estancadas? Eu
lembro, por exemplo, do que se fala sobre alguns pases do
memory-forgetting (fifth figure) Leste Europeu, como Hungria, que tiveram um passado
antissemita. Isso parecia superado durante as dcadas de
socialista. E, mais recentemente, depois da queda do Muro,
Ricoeur points out that the act of forgetting as manipulated memory legitimates ideology esses traumas retornam atravs de partidos e histrias
revisionistas.
as the coercion of habits in a traditional society, acting as a mediator between author and

reader, or as a justification for the legitimacy of an authority or power that articulates an

official history. Forgetting thus may also take the form of censorship that edits memory,

so that the involvement between remembering and forgetting determines the control of

the status quo. Alternatively, forgetting in this instance can become a legal act, as in the

case of judicial and political amnesties. Ricoeur affirms that in the forgetting promoted by

manipulated memory,

The resource of narrative then becomes the trap, when higher powers take over this
emplotment and impose a canonical narrative by means of intimidation or seduction,
fear or flattery. A devious form of forgetting is at work here, resulting from stripping
the social actors of their original power to recount their actions themselves. 68

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Respectively, in mimesis II, when emplotment includes historical narrative, one of the

accomplished tasks is to incorporate heterogeneous factors, such as agents, ends, means,

interactions, circumstances, unexpected results etc., into a meaningful unity. Zooming in

and out, the meaningful unity of narrative dislocates the focus on historical events

accordingly. For instance, the first generations of Annales historians and traditional

Marxist historians understood historical meaningful unity respectively as total history and

dialectical totality. On the contrary, their successors of the Annales third generation and

New-Leftist English historiography, similarly, sought historical meaning in minute events.,

similarly, changed the meaningful unity from historical totalities to experienced local

events. In any case, the reach larger or smaller historical scale - of what the

historiographical operation should grasp may produce conceptual shifts on the what is

significant narratively.69 In this case memory-forgetting involvement occurs as narrative

performs a legitimate an operation carried out by conceptual maneuvers related to

historical emplotment. Unsurprisingly, disputes by diverging theoretical paradigms focus

basically on memory gaps in their rivals historical narrative. Actually, it is not uncommon

to find claims that the oppositions theoretical choices may in some degree be

characterized as a form of manipulated forgetting (ideology). For instance, in the 80s,

Brazil, a debate about Brazilian slavery took place between old-school Marxian historians

and new-leftist cultural historians. The former charged the latter of having purged slavery

from systemically and systematically annihilating human beings by making slaves

relatively autonomous agents from the point of view of their daily experience: the slave

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had his subjectivity refurbished as the volunteered agent of his reconciliation with

slavery.70 Commented [A2]: Recuperou-se a subjetividade do


escravo para faz-lo agente voluntrio da reconciliao com
a escravido.
In short, forgetting promoted by shifts on conceptual approach (micro to macro scales or

vice-versa), which change the scales of memory in historical narrative - may have as its

counterpart the forgetting that arises with manipulated memory gaps in memory

assigned to ideological bias.

c) Third pair: commanded forgetting (third figure) and displaceable memory

forgetting (sixth figure)

In MHF commanded forgetting is presented as the arbitrary measure that promotes

justice from amnesty, the political instrument that aims to establish civic peace from the

suspension of ongoing processes and judicial proceedings. Correspondingly, in mimesis

III, the refiguration act allows that the limits between past and present are displaced

according to the mutual implications of narrated past and readers reference in their living

present. Commented [A3]: Gisele,

Aqui, ns podamos citar casos de judicializao da histria.


In short, displaced memory in the transposition of the limits between past and present in Aqueles casos que Dosse se refere, por exemplo?

the narrative has as its counterpart the reconciliation and forgiving that the commanded

forgetting seeks in amnesty.

The next table plots the figures of memory-forgetting involvement in pairs to emphasize

their correspondence in counterparts.

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FIGURES OF MEMORY- COUNTERPARTS

FORGETTING

INVOLVEMENTS PAIRS

1) forgetting and presentness of a past event that remains present in the one-

blocked memory dimension memory of narrative has as its counterpart the

4) one-dimensional forgetting instantiated in blocked memory - compulsion to repeat.

memory-forgetting

2) forgetting and forgetting promoted by shifts on conceptual approach (micro to

manipulated memory macro scales or vice-versa), which change the scales of memory in

5) Scalable memory- historical narrative - may have as its counterpart the forgetting

forgetting that arises with manipulated memory gaps in memory assigned

to ideological bias.

3) commanded displaced memory in the transposition of the limits between past

forgetting and present in the narrative has as its counterpart the

reconciliation and forgiving that the commanded forgetting seeks

6) Displaceable memory- in amnesty.

forgetting

Table 2. six figures of memory-forgetting involvement and their correspondence

Final remarks

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The memory-forgetting figures as products of historical narrative this article proposes do

not stem from historians inaccuracy. Rather, it belongs to the memory-forgetting

involvement is rooted in historical representation both as object (how social agents

represent their actions) and as narrative (how historians represent what the social agents

represent of their present). According to this dual framework, three figures of the

memory-forgetting involvement on the side of the object were summarized according to

Ricoeurs MHF: forgetting and blocked memory (first figure); forgetting and manipulated

memory (second figure); and commanded forgetting (third figure). Afterwards, three new

figures on the side of the narrative were proposed: one-dimensional memory-forgetting

(fourth figure); scalable memory-forgetting (fifth figure); and displaceable forgetting

(sixth figure). We still developed the correspondence between these six figures in pairs

(the first and the fourth; the second and the fifth; and the third and the sixth). This

correspondence is not altogether symmetrical. Forgetting and blocked memory (first

figure) and commanded forgetting (third figure) completes respectively one-dimensional

memory-forgetting (fourth figure) and displaceable forgetting (sixth figure) as their

symmetrical counterparts. Differently, forgetting and manipulated memory (second

figure) and scalable memory-forgetting (fifth figure) confront each other. The

representation as object ideology claims for its neutral representation as historical

narrative; as long as the representative concepts in historical narrative may be charged of

being ideologically biased.

The myth of Lethe, the river of forgetting, illustrates the long history of forgetting that

complements memory paradigms, according to Weinrich71. This myth reminds us that the

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occurrence of forgetting can be found throughout the Western literary tradition: in the

Odyssey, Homer gets lost in mystical lands, having forgotten his real duty, which is to

return to Ithaca; or in Dantes Divine Comedy, in which penitents in the Inferno

recommend that Virgil remembers them once he returns from the realm of the dead; etc.

Forgetting, in these cases, is an act that works on the basis of objectives that are enshrined

in memory.

1
Paul Ricoeur, Temps et Rcit, vol. 1 (Paris: Seuil, 1983) [original French publication]. All references are from
the English translation: Paul Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, vol. 1, trans. Kathleen Blamey and David Pellauer
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1984).
2
Ricouer, TN1, PDF EM INGLS SEM PAGINAO
3
Paul Ricoeur, La memoire, l'histoire, l'oubli (Paris: Seuil, 2000) [original French publication]. All references
are from the English translation: Paul Ricoeur, Memory, history, forgetting, trans. Kathleen Blamey and
David Pellauer (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
4
Ricoeur, MHF, preface.
5
Ricoeur, MHF, 227.
6
Ricoeur, MHF, 232.
7
Ricoeur, MHF, 137.
8
Ricoeur, MHF, 418-426.
9
Ricoeur, MHF, 427-442.
10
Ricoeur, MHF, 443-456.
11
Ricoeur, MHF, 444-448.
12
Ricoeur, MHF, 448-452.
13
Ricoeur, MHF, 452-456.
14
Ricoeur, MHF, 69-80.
15
Ricoeur, MHF, 80-86.
16
Ricoeur, MHF, 86-92.
17
Ricoeur, MHF, 56-92.
18
Immanuel Kant, The critique of pure reason, trans. Paul Guyer and Allen W Wood (Cambridge:
Cambridge University Press, 1998): 460.
19
Ricoeur, MHF, 413.
20
Ricoeur, MHF, 413.
21
Ricoeur, MHF, 426.
22
Ricoeur, MHF, 444-448.
23
Ricoeur, MHF, 448-452.
24
Ricoeur, MHF, 452-456.
25
Ricoeur, MHF, 78.
26
Ricoeur, MHF, 78.
27
Ricoeur, MHF, 444ff.
28
Ricoeur, MHF, 82.
29
Ricoeur, MHF, 81.
30
Ricoeur, MHF, 449.

20
31
Ricoeur, MHF, 89.
32
Ricoeur, MHF, 89.
33
Ricoeur, MHF, 89-91.
34
Ricoeur, MHF, 455.
35
Ricoeur, MHF, preface.
36
Ricoeur, MHF, 448.
37
Michel de Certeau. The writing of history (New York: Columbia University Press, 1988).
38
Ricoeur, MHF, 136.
39
Ricoeur, MHF, 136.
40
Ricoeur, MHF, 136.
41
Ricoeur, MHF, 238.
42
Ricoeur, MHF, 235.
43
Ricoeur, MHF, 232.
44
Aristotle, Poetics, in: Aristotle. Aristotle in 23 Volumes, Vol. 23, trans. W.H. Fyfe (Cambridge, MA, Harvard
University Press, 1932). Available at:
http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=urn:cts:greekLit:tlg0086.tlg034.perseus-eng1:1450b
(accessed Nov 28 2016).
45
Ricoeur, TN1, 171.
46
Ricoeur, TN1, IX.
47
Ricur, TN1, 73.
48
Paul Gyllenhammer, Paul R. Ricoeur's theory of narrative as a reformulation of Husserl's notion of
intentionality. PhD thesis. Marquette University, 2000. Available at:
http://epublications.marquette.edu/dissertations/AAI9991605 (accessed Dec 01 2015).
49
Ricoeur, MHF, 444-448.
50
Ricoeur, MHF, 448-452.
51
Ricoeur, MHF, 452-456.
52
Ricoeur, TN1, 55.
53
Ricoeur, TN1, 58.
54
Ricoeur, TN1, 54.
55
Ricoeur, TN1, 59.
56
Ricoeur, TN1, 180.
57
Ricoeur, TN1, 65.
58
Ricoeur, TN1, 65.
59
Ricoeur, TN1, 65.
60
Ricoeur, TN1, 65.
61
Ricoeur, TN1, 65.
62
Ricoeur, TN1, 66.
63
Ricoeur, TN1, 178.
64
Ricoeur, TN1, 68.
65
Ricoeur, TN1, 72.
66
Ricoeur, TN1, 77.
67
Ricoeur, Time and Narrative, 82.
68
Ricoeur, MHF, 448.
69
Hlio Rebello Cardoso Jr., Narratives and Totalities as an issue in historiography, Histria (Revista).
Histria (Sao Paulo), v.13, (1994): 177-184; Hlio Rebello Cardoso Jr., Historians and detectives: Holmes-
Ginzburg's conjectural-semiotic method and Dupin-Veyne's serial method, Storia della Storiografia, n. 44
(2003): 3-20.
70
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23