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Non human Animals and Medieval Memory Arts

Non human Animals and Medieval Memory Arts

Chapter:
(p.113) Chapter 5 Non human Animals and Medieval Memory Arts
Source:
Rhetoric in Tooth and Claw
Author(s):
Debra Hawhee
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226398204.003.0006

This chapter follows animal figures into memory arts with particular attention to how those arts developed in Medieval commentaries on Greek and Latin texts. It inspects both philosophical (Aristotelian) traditions of memory, which emphasize sense-based, imaginative conjurings of phantasia, and the more technical advice offered by the author of the ad Herennium and by Cicero and Quintilian. The result is a kind of performance-enhanced imagination, and the enhancing frequently happens with eye-widening (and hence memorable) animal bodies and body parts, be they suffering, charging, or inflicting pain. Specifically, this chapter tracks the rebodying of ram testicles in Medieval commentaries on the Ad Herennium and on Aristotle’s De Memoria. Memorious images reached a height of potency in Medieval Europe, and this chapter builds on those vibrant histories of memory by focusing on the nonhuman figures that give them force.

Keywords:   imagination, memory, Ad Herennium, phantasia, ram testicles

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