Memory, nostalgia and recognition in Ishiguro’s work

Teo, Yugin (2015) Memory, nostalgia and recognition in Ishiguro’s work. In: Yıldız, Hülya and Wong, Cynthia F (eds.) Kazuo Ishiguro in a Global Context. Ashgate, Farnham, Surrey, UK, pp. 39-47. ISBN 9781472446695

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Ishiguro has been preoccupied with memory since his earliest novel. How we remember and what we choose to remember have frequently been key considerations in his oeuvre. Ishiguro, in an interview during the publication of When We Were Orphans, stated that nostalgia, in its purest form, “is to the emotions what idealism is to the intellect”, that it is a way of “longing for a better world”. Unlike many writers and critics who tend to view nostalgia as a negative trait, Ishiguro chooses to view it positively, utilising nostalgia (along with memory) as a key element in his work that is evident in his novels, short fiction and screenplays.

Paul Ricoeur was a key figure in 20th century continental philosophy who maintained a strong interest in the field of literature. He had been preoccupied with the themes of memory, forgetting and recognition toward the end of his life, particularly in the different ways in which we remember and forget key events, how we recognise different versions of ourselves, and how as social beings we receive mutual recognition from within a community. Utilising various aspects of Ricoeur’s theories, this chapter examines the themes of memory, nostalgia and recognition across a selection of Ishiguro’s writing, demonstrating the uniquely profound and elegiac nature of his work.

Item Type: Book Section
Keywords: Ishiguro, memory, recognition, Ricoeur, nostalgia
Schools and Departments: School of English > English
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF0309 Consciousness. Cognition Including learning, attention, comprehension, memory, imagination, genius, intelligence, thought and thinking, psycholinguistics, mental fatigue
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0045 Theory. Philosophy. Esthetics
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR0161 By period > PR0401 Modern > PR0471 20th century
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR0161 By period > PR0401 Modern > PR0481 21st century
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Depositing User: Yugin Teo
Date Deposited: 28 May 2015 12:36
Last Modified: 28 May 2015 12:36
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