More specifically concerning: memory
Piling pebbles upon the beach, the water laps against the sky, the low sound measuring time’s loss, the imponderable construction of a memory. Set one foot, then, in front of the other, and take no moment to look back, but continue – onward.
Memory, I realize, can be an unreliable thing; often it is heavily coloured by the circumstances in which one remembers, and no doubt this applies to certain of the recollections I have gathered here. —Ishiguro, 2001.65, p. 156
14.03.02 – Thursday
Slept late. How much information is behind those two little words: slept late. Falling asleep just after nine, waking just before one, then sleeping still more until seven-thirty. It sounds appalling, very like laziness; but it isn’t. Suffering from a blight of coffee-stains. The surface of one of the tables is, if not quite Olympian […]
Lustral Basins, or the Archaeology of Remembrance
We stood in the sun, which was sharp and swimmingly white, though not quite directly overhead. The only thing brighter than the sunlight was the dust, which swirled and eddied low around our feet, stirred by the rare breezes. The olive trees and other low, scrubby plants were soaked in this dust, and seemed nearly […]
England, 12 November, 7:24 a.m. When I remember something I would rather forget, or when some unpleasant action or unwitting stupidity of mine forces its way forward into the present from the past, I think I don’t feel well. Oh happy past, which can so disorder the present. A people that grows accustomed to sloppy […]
It was very simple once; just a chronicle, a chronological exuberance bogged down in the details. E.g.: 13.01.2003 — Monday — Up late, then to the Bodleian, Gorgias, Blackwell’s (Sylvie & Bruno, £9.99 — cash), coffee, groceries, room, read… &c. But that is not quite right, is it? For who really wants to make of […]
No philosopher and hardly any novelist has ever managed to explain what that weird stuff, human consciousness, is really made of. Body, external objects, darty memories, warm fantasies, other minds, guilt, fear, hesitation, lies, glees, doles, breathtaking pains, a thousand things which words can only fumble at, coexist, many fused together in a single unit […]
…for certainly Life is so Pretious, as it ought not to be Ventured, where there is no Honour to be Gain’d in the Hazard, for Death seems Terrible, I am sure it doth to Me, there is nothing I Dread more than Death, I do not mean the Strokes of Death, nor the Pains, but […]
a Turkish winter
modesty & the art of pronunciation.
Cataloguing one’s home library has its good points. Entering in ISBNs and publication information is a wonderful way to devour time. One also gets a chance really to look at one’s books; one so seldom has the opportunity. One buys the book, sometimes one even reads it,1 and then it goes on the shelf, jumbled […]
Under the window-seat in the back parlor, where wasps die and desiccate, the memories are kept, unlocked, unbidden, and inaccessible – mint-green florilegium, pallor bred under the western sun. The thought makes me sleepy.
sense of direction
Begin to move in one particular way rather than another; whither that tends unknown. Looking for the clew; no minotaurs. Reminds me of that Turkish Night, all angles and crossed wires. I misremember. Miss remembering, not but that madness that way lies – or tells the truth. Should stop playing with words like that; hurts […]
The memory of cranes flying in rain-heavy sky, lit in low-slanting sunlight; tall grasses and the bounce and hum of a bus; gold-leaved crowns, and painted walls, dank scent of earth, and the brightness of the cranes, flying. Don’t know what direction they flew, nor what direction I went, but away from the past and […]
But memory’s sudden release of the genie held captive inside matter, like a spirit bottled by an evil witch, is much more often for me both generator and principle of a happy feverish fugue than the quietism of a Proustian illumination. Resparked, the precious images kept so long in darkness – all of them – […]
hold my coat and snicker
I remember being told by a teacher not to read Jane Eyre, because I would be reading it in her class in the fall. Of course I read it that summer. Propped in bed, or curled in a corner, but finally finishing peripatetic. That’s how I remember it, anyway. I walked the three miles from […]
The important thing for the remembering author is not what he experienced, but the weaving of his memory, the Penelope work of recollection. Or should one call it, rather, a Penelope work of forgetting? […] And is not his work of spontaneous recollection, in which remembrance is the woof and forgetting the warp, a counterpart […]
weak tea and memory
From Asterios Polyp, in a passage on memory.
View of Darkhan. The snow stays on the ground mingling with the dust, not melting even under the sun. Everything is very dry. The dust is the same color and texture of finely ground coffee, as though one could scoop it up into a սրճեփ and enjoy one’s cup of bitterness on the rolling steppe. […]
Antonio Tabucchi. Requiem: A Hallucination trans. Margaret Jull Costa. London: Harvill, 1994. Please, he said, don’t abandon me to all these people who are so certain about everything, they’re dreadful. You don’t need me, I said, don’t talk nonsense, the whole world admires you, I was the one who needed you, but now it’s time […]
At Passau the traveller feels that the flowing of the river is a yearning for the sea. That sense of life-to-the-full, that gift of the blood pressure, or of some acid benevolently secreted by the brain, was something I really felt in the alleys and on the river-banks of Passau; or do I just think […]
adventures and misadventures
Like everything that had to do with him, the narration of his past depended on a complex alchemy of humors, climates, and correspondences, and only when it had been fully achieved would the floodgates of his memory open, launching him into long recollections that did not take into account either time or the disposition of […]
Having got to know Liska the way a man gets to know a woman only if he lives with her for years, sleeping with her all that time – well, he’s got not to know her again. It’s like reading a wonderful poem, and learning it off by heart because you like it so much […]
the dangers of athletics
from Albrecht Dürer’s Portrait of Maximilian I We are never at home with, but always beyond, ourselves. Fear, desire, and hope impel us into the future, and rob us of the sense and consideration of that which is, in order to keep us musing over that which will be, even when we shall cease to […]
a wholesome note of doubt
‘With so little new reading-matter to distract us we were able to carry all the details in our head until the next issue.’
From Pierre L’Estoile’s Les belles Figures et Drolleries de la Ligue We are human beings, and hold together, only by speech (30). When thinking back over the essay ‘On Liars’ I find myself thinking of it in terms of memory, for the first third of it is taken up with Montaigne’s concern about his own […]
an antique fashion shows
The cover was off-putting. A boy in a garden, glancing slyly back at an illicit meeting, in the unctuous watercolors so popular for mass market literary paperbacks of a certain age. I refer, of course, to a Penguin edition of First Love, translated by Isaiah Berlin, which, as a book, rather reminded me (not to […]
memory, the field of vision, consciousness, a spark.
at the reference desk.
It was the mention of baklava that made me dubious. It was mentioned as quintessentially Armenian, yet baklava is a pastry I don’t recall encountering once in three years – except in Yerevan (admittedly, I don’t recall many weddings). I read the book quickly, enjoying the familiar but disoriented by details – famines and December […]
What is not seen is the growing and accompanying tension of consciousness in time. Not only, by its memory of former experience, does this consciousness retain the past better and better, so as to organize it with the present in a newer and richer decision; but, living an intenser life, contracting, by its memory of […]
bridging the gap
For my way of thinking, dialectical reason is always constitutive: it is a bridge, endlessly extended and improved, that analytic reason throws out over an abyss whose other shore it does not perceive clearly even though it knows that it exists, and even if it is constantly receding. The term ‘dialectical reason,’ then, covers the […]