Musical affect, autobiographical memory, and collective individuation in Thomas Bernhard's Correction

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Notable contributions to affect theory within millennial music scholarship have sought to refute the ‘subjectivisation of affect’, turning our attention instead towards analysis of its shared grammars and capacities for collective individuation. This chapter contributes to this with a perspective that blends music analysis, literary criticism, and the theories of Gilbert Simondon and Gilles Deleuze. The focus of the analysis is on the capacity of music, and particularly recorded music, to act as a technology for memory recall. Variously referred to as ‘musically-evoked autobiographical memory’, ‘sonic déjà vu’, ‘involuntary memory’ or ‘sonic anamnesis’, the effect of such recall is, as Augoyard and Torgue (2014, 18) put it, one of ‘a reminiscence, in which a past situation or atmosphere is brought back to the listener’s consciousness, provoked by a particular signal or sonic context’. Through an extended discussion of a fragment from Thomas Bernard’s 1975 novel, Correction, in which the sensory affects experienced during three friends’ ritualised walk to school come to have a determining effect on the course the their lives take later, I develop a discussion of the the shared grammars of these ostensibly highly-individualised instances of sonic recall. The analysis draws on a range of cultural referents including Robert Altman’s Nashville and the ‘divorce albums’ of Phil Collins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSound and Affect
Subtitle of host publicationVoice, Music, World
EditorsLochhead Judith, Mendieta Eduardo, Stephan Decatur Smith
PublisherChicago University Press
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780226758152
ISBN (Print)9780226758015, 9780226751832
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • Popular Music
  • affect
  • literary theory
  • film studies
  • collective individuation
  • autobiographical memory
  • musical affect


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