“Memory Lives Inside Us”: Writing as Memory Traces in The Secret Staircase

  • Sonia Villegas-López Universidad de Huelva


The Secret Staircase is the title given to an installation presented by Caroline Isgar and Michèle Roberts at the Foundling Museum of London in 2008, and also to the accompanying book, a collection of Isgar’s drawings and Roberts’s eighteen narrative pieces, meant as a souvenir of the exhibition. Robertstells the story of a daughter’s recollection of her childhood and her life with her mother on the occasion of the latter’s approaching death. Each piece is inspired by an object belonging either to the past or to the experience of the mother’s confinement in a hospice. Roberts’s contribution to the installation constitutes a memory text in its own right, and suggests that writing is the actual trace that can bring the past to life and the means by which the daughter comes to terms with the mother figure.