Yates’ The Art of Memory

Yates: Art of Memory
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
Theme: The art of memory in relation the formation of images

(Still working my way through this text.)
• Simonides: order and mental places critical for good memory (Sim: originator of memory—tells story about how he remembered all guests at dinner party after the ceiling came crashing in on them)
• Orator could improve his memory, enabling him to deliver long speeches w/o fail and accuracy
• Quintilian: memory places—a building, as walking through it
• Cicero: Simonides story—sense of sight is the strongest
Ad Herrenium: Two kinds of memory: natural and artificial
o (Today, how is artificial memory factored into this? Is artificial digital memory replacing natural memory?)
• Things and words memories
o Words: The language in which subject is coded
o Things: Subject matter of speech
• Need to systematize random association
• Tullius: 2nd Rhetoric—artifcial memory by which natural memory can be improved
• 1st Cen: Quintilian: Institutio Oratoria
o 100 years earlier: Cicero: De Oratore
• 30 years earlier: Cicero: De Inventionae
Ad Herennium
• Perception ⇔ Imagination ⇔ thought
o Imagination is the same part of the soul as memory
• Aristotle: recollection is deliberate effort to find one’s way through the content of memory
• Plato: Phaedrus –memory is not just a section, but a ground work for the whole
o Platonic memory: organized≠mnemotechnics
Ad Herennium: related to/derived from the zodiac?
• Middle ages: rules for images: strikingly ugly or beautiful
• Memory for things: notations by images
• Memory for words: words for images
• Thomas’ rules: places and images of artificial memory
Rosario author: Natural places : places memorized in the country (trees, etc); artificial places: places memorized in buildings (windows, etc.)
• Invisible memory places: internalized for mnemonic purposes
o Not intended for externalization
• Petrarch: Mediaeval → Renaissance memory
o Important authority for artificial memory


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