The Art Of Memory * Frances Amelia Yates (071265545X)

Yates was THE investigator of the occult in the Renaissance, especially the magic of Giordano Bruno. When writing the book about Bruno and the Hermetic Tradition (see elsewhere) she felt she needed to dig into another subject first, being the art of memory. This was used since classical times and Yates recognises three sources. 1, the anonymous “Ad Herennium” which for a long time had been thought to be by Cicero. 2, Cicero himself, especially in his “De Oratoria” and 3, Quintillian. Other classical writers have thouched upon the subject such as Aristotle who was already very influential in the Middle Ages. Yates tells us about the history of the art and the major contributors. For me the most interesting chapters are that about ‘the art of Ramon Lull as an art of memory’ and the various chapters about Giordano Bruno. Yates shows how the classical art of memory gets an Hermetic and Cabalistic twist in the Renaissance and ‘that other tradtion’ founded by Ramon Lull too. The art
of memory becomes the basis of the magical systems of the Renaissance and however Yates us usually strictly historical, in this book the investigates the subject very thoroughly! Without a doubt, this is the book in which Yates enlightens us most about the systems and ideas themselves! A wonderfull book with a couple of unmissable chapters if you are interested in the occult Renaissance.

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