Amnesia and the Tragedy of Remarriage
A thing like a divorce can break up a marriage.
George-as-Larry (William Powell)
in I Love You Again (1940)
Some of the great romances of remarriage involve amnesia, which plagues forgetful husbands and, occasionally, forgetful wives in literature (such as the tale of Siegfried and Brünnhilde) and in film. Self-forgetfulness of this sort often has the effect of an unconscious masquerade (when the amnesiac constructs a new self) or, occasionally, a self-imitation (when that new self turns out to be the former self, instinctively reconstructed). It occurs in both comic and tragic forms. Let us begin where we left off in the last chapter, with comedy.
The Matrimonial Bed (Michael Curtiz, 1930, based on a play by Yves Mirande and André Mouézy-Eon) tells a twisted tale of resurrection, amnesia, and pretense:
Adolphe Noblet was presumed dead in a train wreck. After five years, his wife Juliette
(Florence Eldrige) married Gustave Corton (James Gleason) and had a child. In fact
Adolphe was not dead but had merely lost his memory; he had become Leopold Trebel
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Book title: The Woman Who Pretended to Be Who She Was: Myths of Self-Imitation. Contributors: Wendy Doniger - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2005. Page number: 90.
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