19 Pages

The Landscapes of Memory

ByRichard Hoggart

Memories are not ordered by time but rather by importance; their importance is revealed to us over time, not decided by us. So they constantly reassemble themselves, like packs of cards being shuffled by unseen hands. Most writers, and it is surprising how many are teased by the ways it works, mistrust the powers of memory. No doubt we try altogether to forget some things because to retain the memory of them would be too much to bear (‘Some things are best not remembered’, many people observe in dour moments). Yet they remain, even if very far back, independent of our conscious or unconscious wills; they remain and recur even though we wish they would not and try to shrug them away. Altogether to forget is difficult.