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The Art of Memory by Frances A Yates

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A revolutionary book about mnemonic techniques, and their relation to the history of philosophy, science, and literature

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 distinctive book, in the course of which she sheds light on such diverse subjects as Dante’s Divine Comedy, the form of the Shakespearian theater, and the history of ancient architecture. Aside from its intrinsic fascination, this book is an invaluable contribution to aesthetics and psychology, and to the history of philosophy, of science, and of literature.

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