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Confessions of Zeno - Study Guide Preamble and Chapter 1, Smoke Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 39 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Confessions of Zeno.
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Zeno muses on beginning the task of recalling and writing down his life, at the prompting of his doctor. In his old age, he has trouble with this task, because "the imperious present looms up and blots out the past." (5) He comments on how he has the sensation of having dreamed some important truth, now forgotten forever. He imagines himself as an infant, wishing he could warn it of the temptations to come, and of how it will inevitably give in to those temptations. He says to this baby, "The minutes now passing may actually be pure, but the centuries that prepared for your coming were certainly not." (6)

In Zeno's early childhood, he lived in the Austrian city of Trieste in the late 1800's. He recalls this many years later as he undergoes psychoanalysis, writing down all his memories.

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