Imagination and Memory in Stendhal

Diogenes 51 (1):55-63 (2004)
Abstract
Imagination and memory are often distinguished as fiction and reality, but classical authors, such as Hobbes, have been well aware of their similitudes. And the French writer Stendhal (acknowledging his debt to Hobbes, whose works he read in his youth) is perhaps the novelist to have shown most accurately how, from the moment love became amour passion in the beginning of the 19th century, the power of imagination inside memory began to grow – until it was able to undermine and even cut the link between memory and reality. But the emergence of passionate love creates a new challenge: can we control the powers of passion that we have identified? How can we accept the ideal of freeing the emotions, and simultaneously aim to control them, in order to attain a better life than human beings have had until now?
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