Quintilian’s Institutio oratoria: Book 11, Chapter 2

Quintilian: Institutio oratoria
Area: History of Rhetoric and Memory Studies
•    The best students are those who excel at memory work and mimicry
•    Quintilian defines rhetoric as “the art of speaking well”
o    Well = effectively and virtuously
•    Oratory that doesn’t move its hearers toward good is not rhetoric
•    Natural ability and learning both contribute equally to rhetorical skills
•    ≠ Cicero: gave natural ability primacy
•    5 parts of rhetoric: invention, arrangement, expression, memory, delivery/action
•    3 subject matters: the panegyrical, the deliberative, the judicial
•    3 offices an orator must accomplish in every speech: inform, move, please
•    Stasis theory ask three questions: “Whether a thing is?”; “what is it?”; “of what species it is?”
Book 11, Chapter 2
•    Memory is strengthened by exercise—all knowledge depends on memory
•    An orator should have an abundance of facts memorized and ready to dispense
•    Memory is the treasury of eloquence
•    While we utter one thought, we always have to think of the next
o    Always looking beyond the immediate object
•    The memory transmits these conceptions to the delivery: intercommunication
•    Memory may be dulled by the condition of the body
•    Even inferior animals exhibit memory (returning to their homes)
•    Memory doesn’t always stay with us, but returns after being lost
•    Memory provides the orator with an order—extends series almost to infinity
o    Patience of the hearer should fail sooner than the memory of the speaker
•    Quintilian agrees with Plato when he says: what we commit to writing we lose—cripples our memory
o    We lose it through mere neglect
•    Simonides: memory assisted by localities impressed on the mind
•    Place thoughts in line with symbols—walk through house and recite all items in any order
•    Cicero: must fancy many plain and distinct places
•    Metrodorus: 360 places and 12 sun signs (Yates: zodiac)
o    Boastful of his memory as a result of art, not gift of nature
•    How can the orators words flow on if he has to continually refer to particular images?
•    Advantages to learn long speeches in parts; section should not be too short as that distracts and harasses the memory
•    Finding similarities between objects is very helpful—will have greatest effect in fixing things in our memory
•    Learn to memorize from the same tablets on which something’s written originally
o    Will see all changes this way, too
•    Memorize aloud—silence will let other thoughts interfere
•    Testing by repetition
•    The only and great art of memory is exercise and labor
o    Learn much by heart and daily meditation
•    Reminiscence: the most efficient quality of memory
•    Question: should those who are readying to deliver a speech:
o    Learn it by heart verbatim?
o    Or, master the substance and order of particulars?
•    A good memory appears like we’ve created a speech in that instant


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