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madeleine

English translation: Proust's madeleine (involuntary memory)

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GLOSSARY ENTRY (DERIVED FROM QUESTION BELOW)
French term or phrase:madeleine
English translation:Proust's madeleine (involuntary memory)
Entered by: lcmolinari
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- Include in personal glossary

16:29 Feb 15, 2007
French to English translations [PRO]
Medical - Medical (general)
French term or phrase: madeleine
Ok, this has me stumped. I assumed 'madeleine' was a medical term, but I find no references. And according to GDT, it is "Petit gâteau à pâte molle, de forme arrondie." which could look like a brain... The document is from France and I'm not, so maybe that's where the problem lies?

Any ideas?

Mémoire : la rencontre de l’hippocampe et de la madeleine

further on...

Ainsi, l’hippocampe est bien impliqué dans la récupération des souvenirs, quelle que soit leur ancienneté, pourvu que ceux-ci soient épisodiques. La rencontre de l’hippocampe et de la madeleine en quelque sorte…

It is a journal article on the role played by the hippocampus in the reactivation of episodic memory
lcmolinari
Canada
Local time: 08:00
sensual stimulus of involuntary memory/involuntary memory
Explanation:
Hi Laura,

Sue is absolutely right but I thought I would point you in the direction of a possible equivalent for your term and an actual explanation. The concept that Proust develops in the link that Sue provided has entered into popular consciousness in France and elsewhere as a specific term for something that reminds you of a specific moment in time, without you even being consciously aware of the association, which is evoked by sensual triggers. Here is some further explanation:

involuntary memory
Involuntary memory is a conception of human memory in which sensual stimulus plays a crucial role in evoking recollections without conscious effort. Its binary opposite is voluntary memory, a deliberate effort to recall the past. French author Marcel Proust coined the term. From this philosophical root, involuntary memory has become a part of modern psychology.


Marcel Proust
Involuntary memory (fr. mémoire involontaire) is a concept articulated by the French writer Marcel Proust in his novel In Search of Lost Time, although the idea was also developed in his earlier writings, Contre Sainte-Beuve and Jean Santeuil. It is sometimes referred to as "Proustian memory".

Proust contrasts involuntary memory with voluntary memory. The latter designates memories retrieved by "intelligence," that is, memories produced when we put conscious effort into remembering events, people, and places. Proust's narrator laments that such memories are inevitably partial, and do not bear the "essence" of the past. Involuntary memories, on the other hand, function similarly to the phenomenon known as déjà-vu: they possess a vivid and plenary sensory immediacy that seems to obliterate the passage of time between the original event and its re-experience in involuntary memory. The most famous instance of involuntary memory in Proust is known as the "episode of the madeleine," but there are at least half of a dozen in In Search of Lost Time, including the memories produced by the scent of a public lavatory on the Champs-Élysées.

The function of involuntary memory in the novel is not self-evident, however. It has been argued that involuntary memory unlocks the Narrator's past as the subject of his novel, but also that he does not begin writing until many years after the episode of the madeleine, for example. Other critics have suggested that it is not the recovery of the past per se that is significant for the Narrator, but rather the happiness produced by his recognition of the past in a present moment. Maurice Blanchot in Le Livre à venir points out that involuntary memories are epiphanic and pointed, and cannot effectively support a sustained narrative. He notes that the difference between Proust's uncompleted Jean Santeuil and In Search of Lost Time is the voluntary memories that provide the connective tissue between such moments and make up the vast bulk of the narrative of the later novel.

A contemporary influence on Proust's conception of involuntary memory may have been the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who in Matter and Memory (1906) made a distinction between two types of memory, the habit of memory as in learning a poem by heart, and spontaneous memory that stores up perceptions and impressions and reveals them in sudden flashes. However, Proust criticism of the last quarter century has tended to discount the influence of Bergson on Proust's ideas.


Developmental psychology
In psychological research, involuntary memory was systematically studied by Soviet psychologists who investigated primarily the interrelation between specific human activity (other than deliberate remembering), the place of the material to be remembered in it, and qualitative and quantitative characteristics of recall. The pioneer of the research in this field was the student of Vygotsky and Leont'ev and one of the leading representatives of the Soviet school of psychology Pyotr Zinchenko, who published the results of his ingenious study as early as in 1939. The distinction between involuntary and voluntary memory (i.e. such memory that results from deliberate memorization as opposed to memory as a by-product of other, non-mnemonic activity) was subsequently developed by such Soviet psychologists as Smirnov, Istomina, Shlychkova, particularly, by such representatives of Kharkov School of Psychology as P. Zinchenko, Repkina, Sereda, Bocharova, Ivanova, etc. to mention but a few.

Soviet research on involuntary memory significantly influenced psychological research in the West. A wide range of European and North American studies on involuntary remembering in children (e.g. by Meacham, Murphy and Brown, Sophian & Hagen, Schneider, Reese, Ivanova & Nevoennaya, Mistry, Rogoff & Herman) demonstrated viability and promisingness of the activity-based model of human memory.

Best of luck!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day32 mins (2007-02-16 17:01:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Taking Eric's comment into account, "sensory stimulus" would certainly be more appropriate.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2007-02-20 21:17:10 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks very much Laura and thanks for the support and contributions to all below.
Selected response from:

Helen Godfrey
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:00
Grading comment
This was definitely a team effort! Thanks for the wealth of information.
4 KudoZ points were awarded for this answer

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Summary of answers provided
4 +5sensual stimulus of involuntary memory/involuntary memory
Helen Godfrey
4little cake or pastry
MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
3 +1It brings back a flood of memoriesMarwa Blues


Discussion entries: 5





  

Answers


20 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 3/5Answerer confidence 3/5 peer agreement (net): +1
It brings back a flood of memories


Explanation:
The French Robert dictionnary gives "Objet, sensation qui fait resurgir d'agréales souvenirs"

The Robert & Collins doesn't give a translation but "it brings back a floof of memories"
all this is in alllusion to "La Madeleine" from Proust as said Sue

Maybe the best is to leave it as "madeleine"...



Marwa Blues
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:00
Specializes in field
Native speaker of: French

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Odette Grille
5 mins
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

50 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5
little cake or pastry


Explanation:
"Madeleine", as my colleagues have pointed out, refers to a French little cake or pastry made famous by Marcel Proust in his novel, A la recherche du temps perdu. In this novel, eating the madeleine profoundly evoked past memories in the main character's mind. Apparently, your document uses the term "madeleine" by extension to indicate a medical/psychological phenomenon.

MaryAnn Diorio, PhD, MFA
Local time: 08:00
Native speaker of: Native in ItalianItalian, Native in EnglishEnglish
Login to enter a peer comment (or grade)

22 mins   confidence: Answerer confidence 4/5Answerer confidence 4/5 peer agreement (net): +5
sensual stimulus of involuntary memory/involuntary memory


Explanation:
Hi Laura,

Sue is absolutely right but I thought I would point you in the direction of a possible equivalent for your term and an actual explanation. The concept that Proust develops in the link that Sue provided has entered into popular consciousness in France and elsewhere as a specific term for something that reminds you of a specific moment in time, without you even being consciously aware of the association, which is evoked by sensual triggers. Here is some further explanation:

involuntary memory
Involuntary memory is a conception of human memory in which sensual stimulus plays a crucial role in evoking recollections without conscious effort. Its binary opposite is voluntary memory, a deliberate effort to recall the past. French author Marcel Proust coined the term. From this philosophical root, involuntary memory has become a part of modern psychology.


Marcel Proust
Involuntary memory (fr. mémoire involontaire) is a concept articulated by the French writer Marcel Proust in his novel In Search of Lost Time, although the idea was also developed in his earlier writings, Contre Sainte-Beuve and Jean Santeuil. It is sometimes referred to as "Proustian memory".

Proust contrasts involuntary memory with voluntary memory. The latter designates memories retrieved by "intelligence," that is, memories produced when we put conscious effort into remembering events, people, and places. Proust's narrator laments that such memories are inevitably partial, and do not bear the "essence" of the past. Involuntary memories, on the other hand, function similarly to the phenomenon known as déjà-vu: they possess a vivid and plenary sensory immediacy that seems to obliterate the passage of time between the original event and its re-experience in involuntary memory. The most famous instance of involuntary memory in Proust is known as the "episode of the madeleine," but there are at least half of a dozen in In Search of Lost Time, including the memories produced by the scent of a public lavatory on the Champs-Élysées.

The function of involuntary memory in the novel is not self-evident, however. It has been argued that involuntary memory unlocks the Narrator's past as the subject of his novel, but also that he does not begin writing until many years after the episode of the madeleine, for example. Other critics have suggested that it is not the recovery of the past per se that is significant for the Narrator, but rather the happiness produced by his recognition of the past in a present moment. Maurice Blanchot in Le Livre à venir points out that involuntary memories are epiphanic and pointed, and cannot effectively support a sustained narrative. He notes that the difference between Proust's uncompleted Jean Santeuil and In Search of Lost Time is the voluntary memories that provide the connective tissue between such moments and make up the vast bulk of the narrative of the later novel.

A contemporary influence on Proust's conception of involuntary memory may have been the French philosopher Henri Bergson, who in Matter and Memory (1906) made a distinction between two types of memory, the habit of memory as in learning a poem by heart, and spontaneous memory that stores up perceptions and impressions and reveals them in sudden flashes. However, Proust criticism of the last quarter century has tended to discount the influence of Bergson on Proust's ideas.


Developmental psychology
In psychological research, involuntary memory was systematically studied by Soviet psychologists who investigated primarily the interrelation between specific human activity (other than deliberate remembering), the place of the material to be remembered in it, and qualitative and quantitative characteristics of recall. The pioneer of the research in this field was the student of Vygotsky and Leont'ev and one of the leading representatives of the Soviet school of psychology Pyotr Zinchenko, who published the results of his ingenious study as early as in 1939. The distinction between involuntary and voluntary memory (i.e. such memory that results from deliberate memorization as opposed to memory as a by-product of other, non-mnemonic activity) was subsequently developed by such Soviet psychologists as Smirnov, Istomina, Shlychkova, particularly, by such representatives of Kharkov School of Psychology as P. Zinchenko, Repkina, Sereda, Bocharova, Ivanova, etc. to mention but a few.

Soviet research on involuntary memory significantly influenced psychological research in the West. A wide range of European and North American studies on involuntary remembering in children (e.g. by Meacham, Murphy and Brown, Sophian & Hagen, Schneider, Reese, Ivanova & Nevoennaya, Mistry, Rogoff & Herman) demonstrated viability and promisingness of the activity-based model of human memory.

Best of luck!

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 1 day32 mins (2007-02-16 17:01:46 GMT)
--------------------------------------------------

Taking Eric's comment into account, "sensory stimulus" would certainly be more appropriate.

--------------------------------------------------
Note added at 5 days (2007-02-20 21:17:10 GMT) Post-grading
--------------------------------------------------

Thanks very much Laura and thanks for the support and contributions to all below.

Helen Godfrey
United Kingdom
Local time: 13:00
Works in field
Native speaker of: English
PRO pts in category: 4
Grading comment
This was definitely a team effort! Thanks for the wealth of information.

Peer comments on this answer (and responses from the answerer)
agree  Mark Nathan
2 hrs
  -> Thanks, Mark

agree  Michael Lotz
3 hrs
  -> Thank you, Michael

agree  Gabrielle Bannard: Wow! I have this sudden irresistible urge to go read Proust, Bergson, and Zinchenko!
7 hrs
  -> I know, me too :-)

agree  Drmanu49
12 hrs
  -> Thank you!

agree  Dr. Karina Peterson: Amazing!
22 hrs
  -> It is, isn't it! And so was Proust! I once went to a conference on genetics in France where they spent the whole time arguing about whether Proust would have written what he did had he not had severe asthma! An equally interesting thought!

neutral  Eric Bullington: Great explanation. However, are you sure the appropriate term is "sensual stimulus" (which can carry an erotic connotation) and not "sensory stimulus"? Google "sensory stimulus" + hippocampus and compare to "sensual stimulus" + hippocampus...
23 hrs
  -> Thanks, Eric. "Sensory" certainly has less connotations and seems to be the more widely-used term :-)
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