Remembering a Life That Would Have Been: Immemorial Time in Dubravka Ugrešić’s Novel Ministry of Pain

Aleksandar Mijatović, Filozofski fakultet, Rijeka
The paper considers the relation between the notions of memory and immemorial time in Dubravka Ugrešić’s novel Ministarstvo boli/Ministry of Pain (2004). The notion of fabulation developed by the French philosopher Gilles Deleuze is taken as the starting point. The analysis is focused on the connection between the immemorial time and the fabulation in Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić’s Priče iz davnine/Tales from Long Ago (1916). According to Deleuze, fabulation brings the past and the present into virtual coexistence. Similarly, for Brlić-Mažuranić, immemorial time (‘davnina’) is not a past that is irretrievably lost retaining its authority over the present. Instead, Brlić-Mažuranić’s notion of immemorial time may be understood as an actualization of the past by the present. Fabulation is an actualization of virtual presence of the past. That is why in Brlić-Mažuranić’s tale Kako je Potjeh tražio istinu/Potjeh’s Quest for the Truth remembering is separated from the search for the truth. This tale is an important part of the intertextual structure of Ministarstvo boli. Just like Potjeh in Brlić-Mažuranić’s tale, both the fictional characters and the reader of Ministarstvo boli learn to remember in a creative way, that is, to fabulate. This way, the tradition, the author and the reader are released from their authority over the past and the text.
Key words
fabulation; immemorial time; memory; forgetting; Dubravka Ugrešić; Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić
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