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. 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. In a word that fragmentary hoodlum is me, or is an image I stole for literary purposes but which corresponds to my own insomnia.
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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. 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.
In a word that fragmentary hoodlum is me, or is an image I stole for literary purposes but which corresponds to my own insomnia. Pliny considers it a blessing to possess an extraordinary memory. 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. He also mentions Messala Corvinus, the orator, who lost recollection of even his own name.
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. 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 sequences 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 S. Their writings provide a philosophical and scientific foundation on which Borges may have found part of his inspiration. 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.
All action requires forgetting, just as the existence of all organic things requires not only light, but darkness as well. Without totally forgetting a prodigious number of states of consciousness, and momentarily forgetting a large number, we could not remember at all. Sospecho, sin embargo, que no era muy capaz de pensar. I suspect, however, that he was not very capable of thinking. On the contrary, these parallel writings provide a philosophical and scientific foundation on which Borges may have found part of his inspiration.
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 he had been blind for many years and — as he jotted on the first page — had read the book in , decades before this encounter with Kodama.
“Funes the Memorious" and Other Cases of Extraordinary Memory
Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Paris Review — Funes the Memorious The early death of Funes echoes the idea of unfulfilled potential, the wasted miracle of a plainsman with phenomenal abilities who lives and dies in obscurity. I did not know whether to attribute to insolence, ignorance or stupidity the idea that the arduous Latin tongue should require no other instrument than a dictionary; to disillusion him fully, I sent him the Gradus ad Parnassum of Quicherat and the work by Pliny. Because Funes can distinguish every physical object at every distinct time of viewing, he has no clear need of generalization or detail-suppression for the management of sense impressions. Bernardo cried to him unexpectedly: It had suddenly got dark; I heard some rapid and almost secret footsteps up above; I raised my eyes and saw a boy running along the narrow and broken path as if it were a narrow and broken wall.
Funes the Memorious
With members from six committees gathered to reach a decision, a tie transpired between Borges and Beckett, as the French, Spanish and Italian members pushed for Borges, and the American, British and German members insisted instead on Beckett. He embarked on a series of lectures in the United States and then on into Europe. Yates and James E. It may be wondered why Borges did not himself translate his works into English.
Borges and Memory: Encounters with the Human Brain [Excerpt]
Jorge Luis Borges First published in book form in It is the fictional story of Ireneo Funes, who, after falling off his horse and receiving a bad head injury, acquired the amazing talent — or curse — of remembering absolutely everything. Jorge Luis Borges wrote of a protagonist who could remember everything — including the shapes of clouds on any particular day. Credit: F. Borges himself, she explained, had an exceptional memory. He could quote passages in Spanish, English, German and other languages.