Just wondering if anyone knows if there is any solid evidence of a person committing a full-length book (300+ pages) to memory? Talk about a Bradbury legacy!
It may be legend, but there was a guy in early Mormon history, Orson Hyde, who was reputed to have memorized the entire King James Bible. Reports are pretty widespread that you could approach him and state a verse and he could immediately quote the verses immediately before and after. You could give him a reference, and he would quote the entire chapter. But I don't know of any PROOF -- other than quite a few anecdotal testimonies about this guy.
It took me until my early thirties to memorize my own social security number!
Well, how about languages?
Languages is ... memorizing words, isn't it?
I know of a fellow ...who lives in Deerfield, Illinois, by the name of Gleason Archer. He mastered 25 different languages, 10 yrs ago. I think he's added a few since.
[This message has been edited by Nard Kordell (edited 10-09-2002).]
How about the classic legends? All of these had to be passed down by word of mouth. The intent must have been exactly as outlined in F451, though - of course - no "original text" was available. The following generations needed to know what shaped them as a nation or the events which identified their culture. Only the most disciplined of tale-tellers could have pulled this off.
They were recognized for there craft and often received special privileges by the ruling class. Think of the great stage performers of more recent ages and their ability to memorize volumes of drama, music, poems, etc. What a marvelous gift!
Drats! I have trouble remembering where my keys are in the morning!
I wonder just how many people today would actually devote their lives to "becoming" a beloved book? So many others have "become" the stock market or baseball history or Civil War re-enacters. Would someone who had memorized Fahrenheit 451 ever be in the Guinness Book of Records or on David Letterman? Would they be as valued as a Britney Spears? A Magic Johnson? Sorry, I ramble.
I agree with the sentiment of the last two entries.
Weren't many of the great classics originally oral traditions passed down from one story-teller to another? In some cultures, the shaman was really a story-teller, who was recognized for his/her wisdom specifically because of their ability to recollect the important origin stories of their cultures. In many cases, the "magical powers" were only secondary aspects of their status in the tribe.
Also, it is interesting that in our culture, we tend to glorify the trivial. In the paper today, I read that college students -- because of the current economic woes -- are moving back toward degrees in business and engineering, and away from the humanities.
The problem is that it is in the humanities that a culture defines itself at the highest level. Do I thus denigrate business, engineering, etc.? No way. But we also need the balance provided by the humanities.
That is where I think Bradbury shines. He is able to use metaphor, the universalization of themes from the particular, and great story-telling, as means to tell us a bit about ourselves as humans. Interestingly, he uses mirror imagery in several places (F451, The Dwarf, SWTWC, etc.), because one of the things he does is to hold a mirror up to our society and to ourselves and helps us see ourselves a little better -- leading to a better understanding of who we are. I've written many marketing plans and business cases in my career, but these will never enlighten anyone the way F451 helps us understand the power of ideas and the value/importance of freedom. Or the Way SWTWC helps us understand the power of a solid father/son relationship, the role of humor in the defeat of fear, and the value of allowing us to live in the present, rather than selling ourselves out to meaningless fantasies.
What about old traditional hymns, songs, ditties, rock and roll, jazz, blues, folk, ethnic, and all other forms of music basic emotional expression passed from generation to generation. They tell the tales of Sorrow and Joy, Gladness with Wonder, Elation in Life, Birth, and dirges when we have our wakes and die. It seems to me traditional stories are passed on in song, and lyric that meld with the soul. Ray even titled a collection "I SING the Body Electric"!
[This message has been edited by uncle (edited 10-10-2002).]
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