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Mary, p. 44: the work of memory

October 25, 2009

Ganin reflects on his memory of his first projected and real encounters with Mary:  “The fact was that he had been waiting for her with such longing, had thought about her in those blissful days after the typhus, that he fashioned her unique image long before he actually saw her.  Now, many years later, he felt that their imaginary meeting and the meeting which took place in reality had blended and merged imperceptibly into one another, since as a  living person she was only an uninterrupted continuation of the image which had foreshadowed her.”

The projected, prescient image “blended with the real” is a constant in N’s fiction; once again, the projection of the image seems cinematic:  the living Mary, for Ganin, is the continuous movie of her that has been playing in his head for decades.  The memory of the origins of his enchantment with Mary are connected throughout with mortality (the “blissful” period following a typhus infection) and the passage of time (the “foreshadowing” of Mary streaming from the past into the future).

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