The Hellhole

Monday, July 19, 2010

An Experiment In Memory

Over the weekend I watched "Alice In Wonderland" again. I loved Lewis Carroll when I was a child; I had both "Alice" books and a volume that contained, among other things, "The Hunting of The Snark". I had large swaths of the books committed to memory so after watching the movie, I decided to see if I could still remember as much as I thought I could. I sat at my laptop and typed out "The Walrus and The Carpenter" and "Jabberwocky" - as much as I could remember of them, anyway. Then I printed my efforts and handed the pages to Alan. He followed along while I read aloud the official Carroll versions and compared.

It was remarkable how much I remembered and how close I got it. I made some errors like leaving out a couplet here or there and others like this, for example: the actual line is "'It's very rude of him,' she said,'To come and spoil the fun!'" whereas what I wrote was, "It's really very rude of him to come and spoil the fun!" but still quite close. It was a fun exercise.

Just don't ask me to tell you what I wore to work yesterday, where I put the book I was reading ten minutes ago or why I put my silverware into the fridge instead of the dishwasher. (Actually, I didn't wear anything to work yesterday because it was Sunday, but you know what I mean.)

I never had "The Hunting of The Snark" committed to memory (far too long) but I enjoyed saying, at random moments, "For the snark was a boojum, you see!" and I always loved this bit:

They sought it with thimbles, they sought it with care;
They pursued it with forks and hope;
They threatened its life with a railway-share;
They charmed it with smiles and soap.


  • Your memory for what you've read has amazed me since you were, I dunno,,,about 3, I think!


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:50 AM  

  • She really was very close to perfect on both poems, and where she was wrong was usually a matter of wording, with the intent being the same as the original.

    Her memory is much better than mine, which is why I rely on her to remember people's names and family birthdays. Her Mom and I share the same birthday (same day, not the same year), and at least twice a year I ask "...when is your Mom's birthday?..", which always gets me a funny look.

    By Blogger Alan, at 11:26 AM  

  • I tried to make this comment earlier, but blogger wouldn't let me. You have the best memory of anyone I have ever known, and I wish there was a competition for recalling song lyrics, poetry, and chunks of obscure literature that you could enter so that I could make a lot of money by betting on you.

    By Blogger Nancy, at 8:20 PM  

  • Grins. But why can I remember song lyrics and chunks of obscure literature, but not where I put that thing that I had in my hand 2 seconds ago???

    By Blogger Helly, at 8:30 PM  

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