Title of Presentation

Looking Back to the Future

Presenters/Authors

Nell KupperFollow

Date of Presentation

7-2008

Name of Conference

25th International Conference on Literature and Psychology

Date of Conference

7-2008

Location of Conference

Lisbon, Portugal

Document Type

Conference Presentation

Department

Modern Languages and Literatures

Abstract

This article will examine memory as it differs in the case of male and female characters in literature. I hope to show that forgetting-- manifested in refusing to look or see what is behind/ in the past-- is the male's arena, and remembering--looking backwards-- belongs to the female. The archetypal forms of male forgetting and female remembering will be examined in mythological and biblical archetypes and scientific research on differences in male and female memory processing will also be presented to show parallel between the literary male and female roles. The case of Orpheus is of particular importance because he may seem like an exception to the rule of male forgetfulness, since he does in fact look back. I will argue, however, that the circumstances of his backward gaze preclude him from being the exception, and he is also in fact another male who cannot look back.

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