"Middling Memories and Dreams of Oblivion: Configurations of a Non-Archival Memory in Baudelaire and Proust," by Katherine Elkins (University of California, Berkeley). Forthcoming in Discourse.

This paper examines the parallels between a recent scientific, non-computational model of memory and representations of memory in Baudelaire and Proust. Both authors conceive of a memory that might not perfectly preserve the entire past. This reconception is most visible in their revisionist retrieval of two Platonic metaphors: the impression, a metaphor for how we store memories, and the aviary, a metaphor for how we retrieve them at a later date. Platošs impression‹an inscription on a wax tablet‹reappears as a musical impression dependent on the body of the listener. And rather than a search within the confines of onešs own mental enclosure, recollection becomes the search for bird-like, material figures in the external world. This new "non-archival" memory foreshadows the more recent scientific model that relies on external, material triggers, and suggests that many experiences may change one without leaving memorial traces of the events themselves. [K.E.]