New Article: National Identities, Personal Crises: Amnesia in Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Buried Giant

Catherine Charlwood

Published Online: 2018-04-14 | DOI:


This article considers how Ishiguro’s 2015 novel about mass forgetting in post-Arthurian Britain adds to debates about what it means to be a human living within a society. There are four areas of enquiry linked by their emphasis on the interdependence of remembering and forgetting: ideas of memory in nationhood; the depiction of the British landscape; the cognitive process of recognition; and the emotional aspects of remembering. Interdisciplinary in scope, this article uses evidence from psychological studies of memory alongside detailed close readings of the text, allowing a more precise analysis of the role of the narrator and the effect of Ishiguro’s text on the reader. By keeping his previous corpus in view throughout, it evaluates Ishiguro’s continued use of memory and nationality as themes, while demonstrating the new departures offered by the conjunction of an ancient setting and a contemporary reading audience. One of the first sustained critical efforts on The Buried Giant, this article puts the novel firmly on the agenda of literary, cultural and memory studies respectively.

Featured Image Credits: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight | Courtesy of Wikipedia

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