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in a work of literature (generally poetry), a recollection evoked in the reader by the unconscious or conscious borrowing of images or rhythmic and syntactic devices from a different work, another’s or the author’s own. Examples are “I have survived both much and many” (P. A. Viazemskii) and “I have betrayed both much and many” (V. Ia. Briusov). The value of reminiscence as a literary device depends on the reader’s memory and powers of perception.
improvement of the memory. According to the basic law of retention, proposed by H. Ebbinghaus (Germany), the recall of learned material must decay with time. Nevertheless, studies on reminiscence proved that the recollection of memorized material is better after some time has elapsed than immediately after memorization. This phenomenon embraces elements that could not be recalled immediately after learning as well as an overall improvement in recall. The many factors that determine the degree of reminiscence include the rapidity with which the material to be memorized is presented, the time elapsed between study periods, the degree of memorization, similarities between parts of the material, and the quantity of material. Numerous hypotheses on the nature of reminiscence have been advanced, but no satisfactory explanation of the phenomenon exists.