Anamnesis (derives from the Greek word anámnēsis, meaning “to recall” or “bring to the mind”), is a figure which consists by “recalling” what one has supposedly known all along in the past.

The device mostly serves as a psychological crutch to scholars when giving detailed narration of literary works as well as in memoirsOpens in new window and autobiographiesOpens in new window.

A suitable example for this figure is Marcel ProustOpens in new window’s anamnesis elicited by the taste of madeleine particularly in the first volume of Remembrance of Things PastOpens in new window, published in French as À la recherche du temps perdu from 1913 to 1927.

The novel is the story of Proust’s own life, told as an allegorical search for truth. It is the major work of French fiction of the early 20th century.

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