Books, Computers, and Other Metaphors of Memory

Today, people often describe themselves and their minds in computer terms, referring to "hard-wired" personality traits and mental "software." Or they treat their mental life as a movie, "replaying" their memories and offering their "take" on things. Such metaphors are clues to our collective psychology; they suggest the extent to which we imagine ourselves in terms of the media technology that surrounds us.

To be sure, many of us continue to use a different and much older metaphor of