Artistic conception of memory in the novel by U. Eco “The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana”

Natalia Astrakhan


The article deals with the features of artistic conceptualization of memory in the novel by U. Eco “The Mysterious Flame of Queen Loana”. In the artistic experiment, organized by the Italian author, the personality (episodic) memory is matched against the book (semantic) one, that turns out to be insufficient for a person`s valuable existence in the novel context. Substituting the actual reality with the text (intertext) in the plot and image specificity of the work, the writer verificates one of the central post-structuralism and post-modernism postulates. U. Eco returns the hero and the reader to the general and personal history, extricating them from the artificial labyrinths of the “Gutenberg’s civilization”. For the author, authentic reality means overcoming of the individualistic reserve, opening the Other One and the Others and claiming that love and exploit are the vertex moments of the personality self-revelation. It leads the author to the revision of the artistic practice in modernistic and post-modernistic novels and enables him to combine its discoveries with the classical novel tradition.

In accordance with U. Eco’s artistic logic, the problem of memory is multidimensionally analysed in the article. It is examined in connection with development of civilization and culture, regarding the personal history and personal mythology, in the context of problem of concrete generation and all mankind unity in the space of the “large history”. The tendency to the escape from history and the oblivion of the love and work traditions, typical for a modern man and mankind community, is marked as dangerous, consilient with the antiutopian, catastrophic vector of the development of events in the individual and universal life. The analysis the artistic development features of the memory problem in the novel shows that the modern literature prepares the construction of more difficult picture of the world and conception of a man, going outside the borders of the rationally knowable. However, it aims to save the real vision of reality and the understanding of love as a fundamental value, common to all mankind, which is the main intension of the personal and general cultural memory.


Umberto Eco; post-modernism; post-structuralism; novel; artistic conception; personal myth; history; memory


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