Forgetting Yourself: Memory and Identity

Listen / Download

Who are you when your memory disappears? When you forget overnight that you’re a Democrat who hates bagels and loves Agatha Christie?

Can you love without memory? Or hate? Can you be funny? Does personality remember who to be, how to be, on its own? Can a strong new present reconstruct your past?

These were some of Jill Robinson’s questions when her memory drew a blank ten years ago. She was a writer, a chronicler of Hollywood whose father, Dore Schary, had run the MGM studio in the 1950s. She was living in London when her memory went out like a light and her doctors said she’d never write again.

She knew there was something she liked about the man in her arms, but she didn’t remember marrying him. As she rebuilt her memory like a muscle, he held on with devotion.

“How many couples get to begin again?” He asked
(Hosted by Christopher Lydon)


Jill Robinson, author of Past Forgetting

Margot Livesey, author of the novel The Missing World.