Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet

Fragments of an Infinite Memory: My Life with the Internet

By Maël Renouard
232 pages
January 2021


A deeply informed, yet playful and ironic look at how the internet has changed human experience, memory, and our sense of self, and that belongs on the shelf with the best writings of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard.

“One day, as I was daydreaming on the boulevard Beaumarchais, I had the idea—it came and went in a flash, almost in spite of myself—of Googling to find out what I’d been up to and where I’d been two evenings before, at five o’clock, since I couldn’t remember on my own.” So begins Maël Renouard’s Fragments of an Infinite Memory, a provocative and elegant inquiry into life in a wireless world. Renouard is old enough to remember life before the internet but young enough to have fully accommodated his life to the internet and the gadgets that support it. Here this young philosopher, novelist, and translator tries out a series of conjectures on how human experience, especially the sense of self, is being changed by our continual engagement with a memory that is impersonal and effectively boundless. Renouard has written a book that is rigorously impressionistic, deeply informed historically and culturally, but is also playful, ironic, personal, and formally adventurous, a book that withstands comparison to the best of Roland Barthes and Jean Baudrillard.
“Using films, books, and personal experiences as touchstones, Renouard offers a thoughtful consideration not of the internet’s properties or even its possibilities but how its very presence changes us as human beings. A pleasing metaphysical ramble through the nexus of self, emotion, memory, and experience in the digital age.” Kirkus Reviews

“Maël Renouard takes us on a conceptual adventure, meditating on what remains and what is forgotten and observing the progressive annexation of our interiority by the external and infinite memory that is the internet.” —Philosophie Magazine