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27th October 2012

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Music and memory

Music performs a special action in arousing my memory, which is capricious and undisciplined, subject to lapses and slips that are often very annoying. More than once music has enabled me to retrieve from its hiding place, quite suddenly, some reluctant and elusive memory: Several years ago, a Neapolitan melody of no special merit, which was being played on a mandolin by a neighbour, enabled me in a few minutes to remember the subject of a manuscript I had lost years ago, also the ideas contained in it which I had tried in vain, at intervals, to put together again.

Mario Pilo, Psicologia Musicale, 1912

Tagged: musicmelodymemorypsychologyMario Pilo

24th August 2012

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Happy is the man whose heart forgets everything that it has contained.
— Guy de Maupassant, ‘Was It A Dream?’

Tagged: writingbooksGuy de Maupassantmemoryhappiness

8th August 2012

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The geological layers of our lives

The geological layers of our lives rest so tightly one on top of the other that we always come up against earlier events in later ones, not as matter that has been fully formed and pushed aside, but absolutely present and alive.

Bernhard Schlink, The Reader

Tagged: bookshistoryBernhard Schlinklifememory

20th June 2012

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Childhood objects

How absurd our childish attachments are, how small and without significance. Why did that one, particular, willow tree arouse in me a sense of beauty almost too acute for pleasure, why did I want to throw myself on the grassy hill with an upwelling of joy that seemed overwhelming, oceanic, absolute? Because they were the first things, the incomparable things, the only things. It’s by adhering to the contours of a few childhood objects that the substance of our selves — the molten force we’re made of — molds and shapes itself. We are not yet divided.

Eva Hoffman, Lost in Translation: Life in a New Language

Tagged: writingbooksEva Hoffmanchildhoodtreesnaturememory