Critical Mass published a short interview with Günter Grass on the subject of memory. He recently published his autobiography, Peeling the Onion (translated from German by Michael Henry Heim). I responded with a comment reposted here:
The gap between the way we remember ourselves and the way we perceived ourselves at an earlier age can be vast, and this piece on Grass calls to mind a story published last year in the New York Times called Speak, Memory, about a woman given a diary she kept as a teenager. The article states: “[Florence Wolfson’s] reunion with her diary seemed to help her discover a lost self, one that burned with artistic fervor. ‘You’ve brought back my life,’ she announced at one point.”
Biographies — and novels — can do the same, and many novels ask question memory and its vagaries: In Search of Lost Time, The Sea, Ravelstein, all of the Ian McEwan novels I’ve read. They deal with the lost self as, it appears, Grass does, and though I’m not familiar with his work, I appreciate the point he makes in his answers and, apparently, his autobiography.
(Links added later.)