In The Stranger, a novel by Albert Camus, and in “Funes the Memorious,” a short story by Jorge Luis Borges, the homodiegetic narrators have a significant Mémoire is the mental faculty (memory in a general sense), and souvenir is the. We are our memory. We are that chimerical museum of shifting shapes. That pile of broken mirrors.” ― Jorge Luis Borges, In Praise of. fantasy short story by Jorge Luis Borges. Funes el memorioso (Spanish). 0 references. author · Jorge Luis Borges. 1 reference. imported from Wikimedia.
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Reprinted from Borges and Memory: June 7,was a Sunday like any other amid the altered routine of the Second World War.
Jorge Luis Borges — has received universal acclaim for the depth with which he approached matters of philosophic and scientific import in his writings. The strange thing about the obituary is that Borges barely refers to Joyce or his work and instead describes Ireneo Funes, the main character of the story he was writing at the time.
Lo he recordado porque la consecutiva y recta.
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Of the magical compadrito of my story I can state that he is a precursor to supermen, a suburban, incomplete Zarathustra; what cannot be denied is that he is a monster. In fact, toward the end of the story he mentions that Funes found sleeping difficult, because to sleep is to get distracted from the world. When I suffered from insomnia I tried to forget myself, to forget my body, the position of my body, the bed, the furniture, the three gardens of the hotel, the eucalyptus tree, the books on the shelf, all the streets of the village, the station, the farmhouses.
In a word that fragmentary hoodlum is me, or is an image I stole for literary purposes but which corresponds to my own insomnia. Already in the literature of the first millennium there are references to people with prodigious memory, particularly in the Natu ralis historia Natural History of Pliny the Elder Gaius Plinius Secundus, 23—79 A.
Pliny considers it a blessing to possess an extraordinary memory. In fact, he starts chapter 24 of book VII saying:. Pliny also describes the fragility of memory, arguing that it can be lost, in whole or in part, due to illness, injury, and even panic.
As an example he tells the story of a man who lost the capacity to name letters after being struck by a stone, and of another who forgot certain people after falling from a roof.
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He also mentions Messala Corvinus, the orator, who lost recollection of even his own name. On their next meeting, however, Funes welcomes Borges by reciting, mockingly, in perfect Latin: Says Funes, midway through the story:. My memory, sir, is like a rubbish heap. The first properly documented case of extraordinary memory is that of Solomon Shereshevskii, studied by the celebrated Russian psychologist Alexander Luria starting in the s. As Luria reports in his book The Mind of a Mnemonist: As we shall see in the following chapters, Shereshevskii possessed a very strong synesthesia—an involuntary link between different senses, like associating numbers with colors— that gave his memories a much richer content and thus made them easier to recollect.
These associations, as well as the use of simple mnemonics, allowed Shereshevskii to remember long oh of numbers and letters many years after first hearing them. After studying Shereshevskii for more than 30 years, Luria confessed his inability to find a limit to Borgrs. There are clear parallels between Shereshevskii and Funes, despite the fact that the former trained his memory based on his synesthesia while for the latter to remember everything was completely natural.
Imagine the most extreme example, a human being who does mmoirw possess the power to forget, who is damned to see becoming everywhere; such a human being would no longer believe in his own being, would no longer believe in himself, would see everything flow apart in turbulent particles, and would lose himself in this stream of becoming; like the true student of Heraclitus, in the end he would hardly even dare to lift a finger.
All action requires forgetting, just as the existence of all organic things requires not only light, but darkness as well. In The Principles of Psychologyone of his fore- most works, James says mmmoire about memory:.
If we remembered everything, we should on most occasions be as ill ouu as if we remembered nothing. Without totally forgetting a prodigious number of states of consciousness, and momentarily forgetting a large number, we could not remember at all. The relation to Funes, Shereshevskii, and Nietzsche is fascinating.
Borges and Memory: Encounters with the Human Brain [Excerpt]
Sospecho, sin embargo, que no era muy capaz de pensar. I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thinking. Going back to Funes and other people with extraordinary memory, we must mention Borges himself, who could quote whole passages in Spanish, English, German, and Anglo-Saxon, among other tongues.
The fragment, the writer said, was on an odd-numbered page near the middle of the book. Kodama started to read a page at random and Borges, amazingly, guided her to the right page even though mmorie had been blind for many years and—as he jotted on the first page—had read the book indecades before this encounter with Kodama. En busca de la conciencia en el cerebro [Caverns and palaces: Searching for consciousness in the brain].
Funes the Memorious – Wikipedia
Funes is, I would say, a classic reference in any book by an Argentine author on the topic of memory. University Press of Mississippi,p. Most of these characters had been earlier described by Cicero in his Tusculan Disputations. See Cicero, Tusculan Disputationsrev. Harvard University Press; London: Pliny, Natural Historyvol. Harris Rackham Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, ; London: Heinemann,pp. Intervenciones sobre pensamiento y literatura Buenos Aires: Stanford University Press, William James, The Principles of Psychologyauthorized ed.
Henry Holt, ; repr. Dover,pp. The second half of the quotation is itself a quotation: Democritus is mjoire for conceiving atomic theory; legend has it that m,oire gouged his eyes out in his garden so that contemplation of the external world would not disturb his meditations. Says Borges of Funes: In fact, he starts chapter 24 of book VII saying: Says Funes, midway through the story: In The Principles of Psychologyone of his fore- most works, James says this about memory: On the contrary, these parallel writings provide a philosophical and scientific foundation in which Runes may have found part of his inspiration.
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