Strategies of Thought : Georges Perec on Thinking/Order/Memory

The reading for this week’s Strategies of Thought lecture, Georges Perec on Thinking/Order/Memory, was probably my favourite so far in terms of style. The writing was simple, succinct and even playful, making more complex ideas easier to see and evaluate. The subject matter, covering categorisation, list making, memory and classification, has obvious applications to everyday life as categories are applied to all aspects of life. Perec suggested that these categorisations are somewhat futile, as soon as they are defined they become outdated, and that list making is equally futile as the impulse to list everything often means something is left out. I have to say, I love making lists and while I could relate I didn’t necessarily agree.

My main interest in this reading and lecture was the actual written style of the text. Perec challenges the standard approach to essay writing, gathering together knowledge and ordering this into a set structure, by considering ideas individually and then arranging them in a seemingly random order. However, the reader still has a sense of being lead through the subject, with room left for their own evaluation and conclusions.

As I move closer to writing my own reflective essay on Strategies of Thought, and consider the style in which I write, I found this reading a useful reminder that, perhaps, the best way to communicate ideas and reflections isn’t through a standard, academic essay-style.