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Narrative, Memory, Health and Recurrence: Conceptual Notes

By Brian Roberts

Abstract

In Orson Welles’s film Citizen Kane a reporter seeks the secret of Kane’s\ud life through interviews with those closest to him - especially the riddle of\ud his last word - ‘rosebud’. Bernstein, a long-term associate, suggests it\ud might be a girl Kane met many years ago. The reporter is sceptical but the\ud elderly Bernstein replies that he still remembers probably at least once a\ud month a girl dressed in white he only saw for a moment getting off a ferry\ud years gone by. Welles himself described in a chat show interview a similar\ud ‘recurrence’ he had experienced - a girl with red dress on bus seen only\ud briefly but, nevertheless, frequently remembered over the intervening\ud years. (1)\ud The autobiographical process, the one in which Dickens’s David Copperfield\ud will participate, becomes an act of self-creation. It repeatedly draws attention\ud to the fictive status of the self, especially through the appropriation of other\ud narrative conventions. (Frank, 1984, pp.8-9)\ud The following is a series of conceptual notes - ideas for consideration as\ud elements for analysis of narratives, including the telling of the life, the\ud construction of past/present and future through memory, the formation of\ud ‘personal myths’, and ‘self-images’ of health. It is not the usual style of article\ud with aims stated, research outlined and ends achieved but a number of\ud provisional theoretical ruminations constituting a work in progress (as perhaps\ud all writing is)

Topics: H1, BF
Publisher: University of Huddersfield
Year: 2003
OAI identifier: oai:eprints.hud.ac.uk:5112

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