In a paper posted online in the current issue of the journal
Psychological Medicine, a team of psychiatrists and literary scholars
reports that it could not find a single account of repressed memory,
fictional or not, before the year 1800.
The researchers offered
a $1,000 reward last March to anyone who could document such a case in
a healthy, lucid person. They posted the challenge in newspapers and on
30 Web sites where the topic might be discussed. None of the responses
were convincing, the authors wrote, suggesting that repressed memory is
a “culture-bound syndrome” and not a natural process of human memory.
Madame Tourvel, in Dangerous Liaisons, was the closest they found to an example, but the character did not come close enough. Here is the story.
You can submit your suggestions here, I should note I am not convinced by the lack of a winner. People can be oddly unable to recognize a pattern until they understand the pattern; just think how late in human history the first good explanation of supply and demand comes (North? Steuart? Smith? Bailey? Longfield?), and that is a fairly basic economic concept which can be taught to most high schoolers.