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    RonPrice  77, Male, Canada - 60 entries
Jul 2012
4:27 AM AEST

MEMORIZING: The Major and Minor Leagues

The Anatomy of Influence: Literature as a Way of Lifeis a new book by Harold Bloom.1Bloom at 82 is, arguably, the most famous American literary critic; he is also the Sterling Professor of Humanities at Yale University. Bloom says that his theory of literature was the offshoot of his own reading habits, principally his freakish capacity for memorization.

He discovered this ability to memorize in childhood, and it never left him. In the early 1960s, after hearing the prolific American poet W. S. Merwin’s poem Departure’s Girl-Friend, a poem of some 40 lines, he was able to repeat it verbatim.� “Even now,” he says, “I possess almost all of the poetry of one of my favorite poets, Hart Crane, by memory.”

The ability to grasp poetry in this way is rare but not unprecedented. Bloom’s hero, the English author Samuel Johnson(1709-1784), had this ability as well. “His memory was so tenacious,” Boswell writes in his great biography of Johnson, “that he never forgot anything that he either heard or read.” �One of Johnson’s schoolmates remembers having recited to him 18 verses which, after a little pause, he was able to repeat, varying only one epithet, by which he improved the line.”

The scientific study of memory is part of cognitive neuroscience, an interdisciplinary link between cognitive psychology and neuroscience. Some principles and techniques that have been used to assist in memorization include: rote learning, mnemonics, mnemonics link systems, peg systems, cramming, vedic chants, and oral traditions.-Ron Price with thanks to 1Sam Tanenhaus, Harold Bloom: An Uncommon Reader, �in The New York Times, May 20, 2011.

I had a good memory as a student

in primary and high school & was

able to go to the top of my class...,

but I was not in your league, Mr…

Bloom or Mr Johnson……I had to

work to get that information & facts

into my brain for future use usually

in exams: 99% perspiration and 1%

inspiration.� I am in a minor league,

a minor poet but, as the years went on

and my interests widened, I was able to

develop an architecture of information

in which to place a burgeoning quantity

of details as I headed through the stages

of adulthood and into old-age and its 3

phases: 65-74, 75-85 and beyond, if I

last that long!

Ron Price

26 June 2012

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