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Memory and Madness in Pirandello's Enrico IV Jerome Mazzaro Matthew Arnold's view in "The Study of Poetry" (1880) that the shaking of creeds and questioning of accredited dogma would increasingly turn man "to poetry to interpret life for us, to console us, to sustain us" was soon followed in mathematics by David Hubert's questioning in 1891 of the absolute "truths" of Euclidean geometry. In memory theory, too, Théodule Ribot was moving psychology away from St. Augustine's view in the Confessions (c.400) of a sense of deity within individual memory that not only afforded the recognition of God but also became a fixed principle of free will and the formation of a unified self. By examining memory dysfunctions, scientists like Paul Broca, Ribot, and Pierre Janet were promoting such novel ideas as "localization." Localization held that different parts of the brain controlled or "remembered" specific actions and messages in disparate unifying "centers" or "nodes." These scientists had already formulated notions of "a divided self"—i.e., a normal consciousness which organizes itself about the languages and memories of directed and specific tasks so that, for instance, a scientist on a fishing trip might temporarily "forget" his science and speak and behave entirely like a fisherman . They had, likewise, concluded that "changes of memory bring changes of personality."! For most, the memory losses which they studied for their discoveries were the results of injuries or insults to the brain. But scientists were aware, too, that not all memory dysfunctions were physiological, and the work of Sigmund Freud and others soon added to the concept of localized brain functions the "localized" divisions of ego, id, and superego JEROME MAZZARO teaches at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Author of six books of criticism, he has published widely on Renaissance and modern topics. 34 Jerome Mazzaro35 as well as processes such as "repression," "distortion," and "symbolization" to deal with normal memory and emotional and psychological memory dysfunction.2 Imbedded in these discoveries is what Joseph Wood Krutch calls "the dissolution of the ego." Earlier views of self had equated "identity" with "name" or, in its subsequent revision into what Vergil and Augustine called "memory of self," with free will as a "hard-core, fully conscious unity." As with "name," the model for this unity was located outside the individual. The unity might at times, with divine assistance (grace), develop itself or, without divine assistance, corrupt itself, but in either view it could "never cease to be itself."3 In its place appeared wholly interior "states of consciousness" which, according to some scientists, were continuous and, according to others, discontinuous . Rather than mediate between impressions coming from without and what was already within, these "states of consciousness" mediated wholly among what was within. If memory is made up of instants of these mediations without built-in mechanisms for storage and reinforcement, Alfred Fouillée asked, "how does consciousness find a sens in the past?" How does it know not only anteriority but also when things end? Traditionally it is this sens which furnishes recognition, meaning, continuity, and moral significance to present existence. Without the sens—or, rather, with the sens blocked from access by memory dysfunction—understanding, stable identity, and moral responsibility disappear. But even with it intact, identity becomes, as George Herbert Mead says, fluid. It is an individual's momentary self-estimate in relation to a "process of social experience and activity as a whole and to other individuals within that process"—or, stated psychologically, in relation to his own past and ongoing id, ego, and superego.4 In Enrico IV, Luigi Pirandello takes up these physiological and psychological functions of memory as they illuminate a number of concerns: illusion and reality, form and life, rationality and irrationality, and the nature of identity. In so doing, he, too, employs dysfunction to examine normal behavior. In the play, the particular memory dysfunctions which he uses are amnesia, or the loss of memory, and schizophrenia, a confusing, distancing, and paralyzing division of self bordering at times on paranoia and delusions of persecution and grandeur. The two dysfunctions are discrete and, as Thomas Bishop remarks in the case...