Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

Post Caves...and a Thank You
Created by John Eipper on 08/13/17 5:43 AM

Previous posts in this discussion:


Caves...and a Thank You (Eugenio Battaglia, Italy, 08/13/17 5:43 am)

Enrique Torner's post of August 12th was very touching. I am grateful to Enrique, and also envious (in a good sense) of his chance to see the fantastic caves of Altamira. It must have been a wonderful experience.

Thanks, grazie, gracias.

JE comments: WAIS doesn't usually publish "attaboys," but I've greatly enjoyed our topics of the weekend: caves and memoir-writing. And with our several posts reminiscing about caves, we've figured out how to combine the two. 

Indulge me here:  Can we say that effective memoirs are the ones that penetrate most deeply into the caves of the self?  This is Freudian stuff.

Next up on memoirs:  Boris Volodarsky.

Rate this post
Informational value 
Reader Ratings (0)
Informational value0%

Visits: 112


Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

  • Caves...and Memoirs (John Heelan, UK 08/15/17 2:56 PM)
    JE commented on memoirs and caves (13 August): "Can we say that effective memoirs are the ones that penetrate most deeply into the caves of the self?"

    This remark harks back to our original point of departure--honesty in memoirs. As a researcher into literary and artistic figures (e.g. "Lorca and his ilk," viz, Lorca, Dalí, Buñuel and Picasso) via biographies and especially their letters, I realised that the more I discovered about my celebrity targets, the more I realised that they were no different to most of us--warts and all. One would be surprised if "honest" memoirs provided a springboard to discover the "real" person behind those memoirs.

    JE comments:  Some might say that artists have more "warts" than the rest of us.  Well-balanced folks are content to live their lives working, watching TV, procreating.  Malcontents make art.  Or is this a Romantic notion?


    Please login/register to reply or comment:

    • My Memoirs, Volume I; Freedom of Information Act (Timothy Brown, USA 08/16/17 3:07 AM)
      While writing Diplomarine, a memoir, I ran up against several barriers to "telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth," carefully navigating around all sorts of barriers, from risking a libel suit (I had my lawyer review it carefully) or disclosing classified information (the Freedom of Information Act isn't really), to avoid boring my readers to death.

      And that was just Volume One.

      JE comments: Please give us Volume II, Tim!  Diplomarine (part I) was a page-turner in every sense.

      I'm going to remember the quote:  The Freedom of Information Act isn't, really.  Should we discuss this further?  What encounters (or collisions) have WAISers had with the FOIA?  (Be careful about pronouncing the acronym out loud in Spain.)

      Please login/register to reply or comment:

      • Memoirs and Memory at Odds (Angel Vinas, Belgium 08/16/17 1:49 PM)
        I have been in Berlin on holidays remembering old times. I have kept abreast of the many WAIS posts exchanged in the last few weeks thanks to my mobile. The ones concerning Mussolini´s Italy and the difficulties in writing memoirs have attracted my attention. Regarding the latter, I think that my personal experience may be opportune.

        I wrote a big book on my work at the EU and the changes I perceived in this organisation over fifteen years. My intention was to provide the reader with an insight of how the EU worked in the areas I had a direct knowledge of. I began writing one month after leaving the EU and wrote in flashback from the end of my activities toward the starting point. My memory being not that bad, I thought I could truthfully reconstruct the high points of my most recent experiences. I worked for three months on my last two EU years. I was relatively happy and self-assured. However, as a historian I immediately confronted my writing with the primary evidence (my personal files contained in 40 or 50 big boxes which I had taken with me--this was permitted at that time) and the comparison left me aghast.

        Episodes which I believed to have written truthfully turned out not to be as I had described then. Conclusion? From then on I wrote on the basis of direct evidence which I deposited several years later with the EU Archives in Florence. Any reader interested in contrasting my account can therefore check it with the primary evidence. The files description is available on line. I simply kept my old diary because it contained personal details I did not want to exhibit.

        What does this mean? As a historian I have developed a hearty dislike of memoirs as historical sources unless supported by corroborative evidence. In particular if the memoirs have been written from memory. Memory plays tricks. Needless to say, I had to fight the temptation to put myself in a glamorous light. I avoided it to the extent possible by having recourse to Brecht´s concept of Verfremdung highlighting the need to keep of critical distance to the Darstellung (the written text). I didn´t lie except on one occasion and only to protect a source following legal advice. However, I didn't tell the whole truth or what I thought was the truth for lack of evidence.

        I think that memoirs are indelibly personal affairs to be taken with a grain (occasionally with a ton) of salt. They should take a secondary role and only to be used in connection with available evidence. I, however, acknowledge that this is not always possible. In my next book I´ll be addressing without compassion some memoirs which historians have taken at face value.

        JE comments:  Yes, there would be no such thing as memory if there were no forgetting. Not that Ángel Viñas would do such a thing, but consider the "Brian Williams Syndrome," where you enhance a personal experience to the point that it becomes pure fiction.  Might we call it involuntary mendacity?

        Please login/register to reply or comment:

        • Post Unpublished - please check back later

Trending Now

All Forums with Published Content (40207 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications


Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy


Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series


Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust


Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire


Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US


Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)


Geography Maps Tourism Transportation


1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who