Thursday, May 23, 2019


Our Memories Are Sieves

F.L. Lucas (1894-1967), Style (London: Cassell & Co Ltd, 1955), p. 23:
Sooner or later, most of us find that our memories are sieves.

The Danaïds in Hell filled sieves for eternity; we do the same through our lives on earth. Even through Cambridge Lethe flows, as well as Cam.

There are, if I may cite my own experience, minor plays by Webster, or partly by Webster, that I have read and re-read two dozen times, written about, annotated, corrected and recorrected in proof — and yet today I have forgotten even their plots. I had in the First War to memorize the organization of the German Army — yet today that knowledge has vanished from my brain almost as completely as that German Army faded from the earth. Such acquisitions may survive in the Unconscious; no doubt they could quickly be revived; but meanwhile they are gone. And perhaps better so.
Related post: Remembering and Forgetting.

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