Shakespeare's Memory

Last updated
"Shakespeare's Memory"
Author Jorge Luis Borges
Original title"La memoria de Shakespeare"
Country Argentina
Language Spanish
Genre(s) Fantasy, short story
Media typePrint
Publication date1983

"Shakespeare's Memory" (original Spanish title: "La memoria de Shakespeare") is a short story by Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges originally published in 1983, in the book of the same name. This is one of Borges' (who died a few years after writing it) last stories, but it differs little, both thematically and stylistically from the much earlier stories that made him famous. The story's themes include memory, Shakespeare, and writing.


The protagonist and narrator is Hermann Sörgel, a self-described devotee of Shakespeare. After giving a short list of works that he has written on Shakespeare, he tells the story of how he came to be in possession of Shakespeare's Memory: He meets a man named Daniel Thorpe at a Shakespeare conference, and after relating a story about a ring that had a price so high it could never be sold, Thorpe then offers Sörgel Shakespeare's memory, and after a short retelling of how he managed to get hold of it, passes it on to him. The memory, Thorpe says, has to be 'discovered': Sörgel whistles melodies he has never heard, and slowly starts seeing unknown faces in his dreams. Later, he gains insights into Shakespeare's works and techniques, and considers but decides against writing a biography. Soon after, Shakespeare's memory almost overwhelms his own: one day he becomes confused as he does not recognise engines and cars. Finally he decides to give away the memory by telephone: he phones random numbers (sparing women and children from the memory), and at last gives the memory to a man on the other end of the phone.

Related Research Articles

Jorge Luis Borges Argentine short story writer, essayist, poet and translator

Jorge Francisco Isidoro Luis Borges Acevedo was an Argentine short-story writer, essayist, poet and translator, and a key figure in Spanish-language and universal literature. His best-known books, Ficciones (Fictions) and El Aleph, published in the 1940s, are compilations of short stories interconnected by common themes, including dreams, labyrinths, philosophers, libraries, mirrors, fictional writers, and mythology. Borges' works have contributed to philosophical literature and the fantasy genre, and have been considered by some critics to mark the beginning of the magic realist movement in 20th century Latin American literature. His late poems converse with such cultural figures as Spinoza, Camões, and Virgil.

Edward Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany Irish writer, dramatist and chess player

Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, 18th Baron of Dunsany, was an Anglo-Irish writer and dramatist, whose work appeared under the name Lord Dunsany. More than 90 books by his, mainly fantasy, appeared in his lifetime. Both original work and compilations have continued to appear. His œuvre includes several hundred short stories, as well as plays, novels and essays. He gained fame with his early stories and plays and was seen in the 1910s as one of the great living writers of the English-speaking world. He is known best today for his 1924 fantasy novels The King of Elfland's Daughter and The Gods of Pegāna, where he devised his fictional pantheon and laid the groundwork for the fantasy genre. He invented an asymmetrical version of chess called Dunsany's chess. Born and raised in London to the second-oldest title in the Irish peerage, Dunsany lived much of his life at what may be Ireland's longest inhabited house, Dunsany Castle near Tara. He worked with W. B. Yeats and Lady Gregory, received an honorary doctorate from Trinity College, Dublin, was chess and pistol-shooting champion of Ireland, and travelled and hunted extensively. He died in Dublin of appendicitis.

<i>Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said</i> 1974 novel by Philip K. Dick

Flow My Tears, the Policeman Said is a 1974 science fiction novel by American writer Philip K. Dick. The novel is set in a futuristic dystopia where the United States has become a police state in the aftermath of a Second Civil War. The story follows genetically enhanced pop singer and television star Jason Taverner who wakes up in a world where he has never existed. The book was nominated for a Nebula Award in 1974 and a Hugo Award in 1975, and was awarded the John W. Campbell Memorial Award for Best Science Fiction Novel in 1975.

Shakespeares sonnets Poems by William Shakespeare

Shakespeare's sonnets are poems written by William Shakespeare on a variety of themes. When discussing or referring to Shakespeare's sonnets, it is almost always a reference to the 154 sonnets that were first published all together in a quarto in 1609. However, there are six additional sonnets that Shakespeare wrote and included in the plays Romeo and Juliet, Henry V and Love's Labour's Lost. There is also a partial sonnet found in the play Edward III.

A fictional book is a text created specifically for a work in an imaginary narrative that is referred to, depicted, or excerpted in a story, book, film, or other fictional work, and which exists only in one or more fictional works. A fictional book may be created to add realism or depth to a larger fictional work. For example, George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four has excerpts from a book by Emmanuel Goldstein entitled The Theory and Practice of Oligarchical Collectivism which provides background on concepts explored in the novel.

"The Zahir" is a short story by the Argentine writer and poet Jorge Luis Borges. It is one of the stories in the book The Aleph and Other Stories, first published in 1949, and revised by the author in 1974.

"The Immortal" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, first published in February 1947, and later in the collection El Aleph in 1949. The story tells about a character who mistakenly achieves immortality and then, weary of a long life, struggles to lose it and writes an account of his experiences. The story consists of a quote, an introduction, five chapters, and a postscript. "The Immortal" has been described as "the culmination of Borges' art" by critic Ronald J. Christ.

The Immortal Bard 1954 science fiction short story by Isaac Asimov

"The Immortal Bard" is a science fiction short story by American writer Isaac Asimov. It was first published in the May 1954 issue of Universe Science Fiction, and has since been republished in several collections and anthologies, including Earth Is Room Enough (1957) and The Best Science Fiction of Isaac Asimov (1986). Like many of his stories, it is told as a conversation, in this case between two professors at a college faculty's annual Christmas party.

"The House of Asterion" is a short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges. The story was first published in 1947 in the literary magazine Los Anales de Buenos Aires and republished in Borges's short story collection The Aleph in 1949. It is based on the Greek myth of Theseus and the Minotaur and is told from the perspective of Asterion, the Minotaur.

<i>The Cats Pajamas: Stories</i>

The Cat's Pajamas: Stories (2004) is a collection of short stories by Ray Bradbury. Its name of its title story comes from a phrase in English meaning a sought after and fancy thing. Another collection by the same name was published in the same year by fellow science fiction author James Morrow.

"Funes the Memorious" is a fantasy short story by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986). First published in La Nación of June 1942, it appeared in the 1944 anthology Ficciones, part two (Artifices). The first English translation appeared in 1954 in Avon Modern Writing No. 2.

"The South" is a short story by Argentine author Jorge Luis Borges, first published in La Nación in 1953 and later in the second edition (1956) of Ficciones, part two (Artifices).

"The Birthplace" is a short story by Henry James, first published in his collection The Better Sort in 1903. A witty satire on the excesses of bardolatry, the story reflects James's skepticism about the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. Beyond the narrow scholarly issue, the story also shows a typically imaginative Jamesian protagonist inventing an alternative reality in his lecture on the Bard's supposed childhood activities.

<i>Ender in Exile</i>

Ender in Exile is a science fiction novel by American writer Orson Scott Card, part of the Ender's Game series, published on November 11, 2008. It takes place between the two award-winning novels: Ender's Game and Speaker for the Dead. It could also be considered a parallel novel to the first three sequels in the Shadow Saga, since the entirety of this trilogy takes place in the span of Ender in Exile. The novel concludes a dangling story line of the Shadow Saga, while it makes several references to events that take place during the Shadow Saga. From yet another perspective, the novel expands the last chapter of the original novel Ender's Game. On the one hand, it fills the gap right before the last chapter, and on the other hand, it fills the gap between the last chapter and the original (first) sequel. Ender in Exile begins one year after Ender has won the bugger war, and begins with the short story "Ender's Homecoming" from Card's webzine Intergalactic Medicine Show. Other short stories that were published elsewhere are included as chapters of the novel.

<i>Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman</i>

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman is a collection of 24 short stories by Japanese author Haruki Murakami.

<i>Horowitz Horror</i>

Horowitz Horror and More Horowitz Horror are two collections of short horror stories written by Anthony Horowitz, published in 1999 and 2000 respectively. A third set of stories called More Bloody Horowitz was published in 2009. The first two collections were also published in a single collection called The Complete Horowitz Horror.

Infinite monkey theorem in popular culture

The infinite monkey theorem and its associated imagery is considered a popular and proverbial illustration of the mathematics of probability, widely known to the general public because of its transmission through popular culture rather than because of its transmission via the classroom.

<i>Shakespeares Memory</i> (short story collection)

Shakespeare's Memory is a short story collection published in 1983 that collects the last stories by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, which had been published in diverse mediums, such as the national newspapers La Nación and Clarín. It was published three years before the author's death.

"There Are More Things" is a short story written by Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges in 1975. It was first published in the short story collection The Book of Sand, as the collection's fourth entry. The story tells of the encounter the narrator has with a monstrous entity inhabiting an equally monstrous house. It bears the dedication "In Memory of H. P. Lovecraft" and accordingly holds many parallels with Lovecraft's stories, employing similar plot devices. The title alludes to Hamlet's lines "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy".

<i>Eurydice</i> (Aucoin) Opera by Matthew Aucoin

Eurydice is an opera composed by Matthew Aucoin with a libretto by Sarah Ruhl based on her 2003 play of the same name. It had its premiere at the Los Angeles Opera on February 1, 2020, with Aucoin conducting, and will receive its Metropolitan Opera premiere in November 2021. The director was Mary Zimmerman.