Washington State Magazine

Spring 2009


Spring 2009

Memory

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In This Issue...

Features

What Is Art For? :: Art, says independent scholar Ellen Dissanayake '57, is "making special." It is an act that gives us a sense of belonging and meaning. It is passed from mother to child. Its origins lie deep in our evolutionary past. It makes us human. by Tim Steury

The Love Letters :: In 1907, Othello had no high school, so Xerpha Mae McCulloch '30 traveled 50 miles to Ritzville to finish school. There she met, and fell in love with, Edward Gaines, a few years her senior. The recent gift to Washington State University of her steamer trunk reveals the life of a woman whose story is not only threaded through the University's, but also through the story of agriculture in Washington State. by Hannelore Sudermann

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Photos and letters from Xerpha's trunk }

You Must Remember This :: Having reached a certain age, our correspondent sets out to learn the latest from Washington State University researchers about memory. She learns that memory comes in different forms, that the human brain is made for problem-solving, and that the key to much of brain health is the "dendritic arbor." And then she sets out to create an action plan. by Cherie Winner

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEStory: Maureen Schmitter-Edgecombe's work to help people with memory loss }

ESSAY

Privacy and the Words of the Dead :: Do we violate the privacy of the dead when we read what they wrote for themselves? Maybe it depends on our purposes. by Will Hamlin

{ WEB EXCLUSIVEGallery: Annotated pages from early English editions of Montaigne's Essays. }

Panoramas

Departments

:: FIRST WORDS

:: SPORTS: Coaching with heart

:: GREEN PAGES: Building green

:: A gift toward fuel research

{ WEB EXCLUSIVE–Story: Yucatecan lentil soup recipe }

Tracking

Cover photo: Bryan Hall clock tower reflected in the Abelson-Heald skybridge windows on the Pullman campus. By Zach Mazur.

Spring 2009
Web Exclusives

Gallery: Annotated pages from early English editions of Montaigne's Essays

| © Washington State University

Selected pages from copies of Montaigne's Essays, from Will Hamlin.

Return to article: Privacy and the Words of the Dead 



From Privacy and the Words of the Dead, by Will Hamlin

...It’s very unlikely that these long-forgotten readers expected anyone to scrutinize their thoughts–anyone, that is, beyond their own immediate audience, which was often an audience of one. Yes, it’s true that the social construction of privacy varies tremendously from one culture to another, and it may be the case that seventeenth-century English readers felt that they were improving Montaigne when they filled his book with questions, clarifications, and anecdotes drawn from their lives. They may have felt that they were perfecting the Essays for future readers–accepting the author’s implicit challenge to move beyond social convention and explore what lies beneath. Perhaps. Or perhaps they were writing exclusively for themselves, never imagining that four centuries later someone might pore over their words, never condoning such a possibility because never dreaming it might happen.

Categories: Literature | Tags: Montaigne