The Art of Memory

The Art of Memory

Paperback

By (author) Frances A. Yates

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Paperback $26.63
  • Publisher: PIMLICO
  • Format: Paperback | 448 pages
  • Dimensions: 136mm x 214mm x 38mm | 522g
  • Publication date: 27 November 1992
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 071265545X
  • ISBN 13: 9780712655453
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Illustrations note: 1
  • Sales rank: 67,462

Product description

The ancient Greeks, to whom a trained memory was of vital importance - as it was to everyone before the invention of printing - created an elaborate memory system, based on a technique of impressing 'places' and 'images' on the mind. Inherited and recorded by the Romans, this art of memory passed into the European tradition, to be revived, in occult form, at the Renaissance, and particularly by the strange and remarkable genius, Giordano Bruno. Such is the main theme of Frances Yates's unique and brilliant book, in the course of which she sheds light on such diverse subjects as Dante's Divine Comedy, the form of the Shakespearian theatre and the history of ancient architecture. Aside from its intrinsic fascination, The Art of Memory is an invaluable contribution to aesthetics and psychology, and to the history of philosophy, of science and of literature.

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Author information

Dame Frances Yates (1899-1981) achieved a world-wide reputation as an historian. Her close association with the Warburg Institute of the University of London began shortly after the Second World War, after the publication of her first two books. She was Reader in the History of the Renaissance there until 1967, when she became an Honorary Fellow. As well as gaining many academic honours, she was awarded the OBE in 1977 and was made DBE, in the same year. Her publications include Giordano Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition, Theatre of the World, The Rosicrucian Enlightenment, Astraea, Shakespeare's Last Plays and The Valois Tapestries.

Review quote

The ancient Greeks, to whom a trained memory was of vital importance - as it was to everyone before the invention of printing - created an elaborate memory system, based on a technique of impressing 'places' and 'images' on the mind. Inherited and recorded by the Romans, this art of memory passed into the European tradition, to be revived, in occult form, at the Renaissance, and particularly by the strange and remarkable genius, Giordano Bruno. Such is the main theme of Frances Yates's unique and brilliant book, in the course of which she sheds light on such diverse subjects as Dante's Divine Comedy, the form of the Shakespearian theatre and the history of ancient architecture. Aside from its intrinsic fascination, The Art of Memory is an invaluable contribution to aesthetics and psychology, and to the history of philosophy, of science and of literature.

Editorial reviews

The distinction between our 'natural' memory and an 'artificial', or learned, memory is one that has perplexed scholars for thousands of years. The late academic Frances Yates traces a fascinating thread of teaching from Pliny and Quintilian through Aquinas and into the Renaissance. She writes at length of simple aides-memoire and mnemonic techniques, Giulio Camillo's famed memory theatre, Ramon Lull's algebraic approach to the art of memory and of Giordano Bruno's wild, brilliant writing with its occult influences, and makes thought-provoking points about how both Christian and pagan thinkers tried to claim artificial memory for themselves. Learned and copiously annotated, but well within the grasp of the lay reader. (Kirkus UK)