Stds/ 17th Cent Lit

Conducted in English The Art of Memory reached a peak of refinement and complexity during the Italian Renaissance. Far more than a mere tool for passive retention of information: memory devices had the ambition to assist in the structuring of thought, the organization of knowledge, the solving of philosophical questions, and were intended also as tools for creative output. This course examines the impact of the pervasive culture of memory on the literary production of the time, highlighting the interdependence between textual and visual codes. A main focus will be on the heretic philosopher and cosmologist Giordano Bruno, burnt at stake by the Roman Inquisition in 1600, who conceived his imposing mnemonic system as an inner mirror of the infinite universe and of nature's creative principles. We will first examine Bruno's works explicitly devoted to memory, assessing elements of continuity and innovation with respect to the tradition. Subsequently, sampling Bruno's Italian dialogues, his writings on magic, and his satyrical comedy Candlebearer, we will look for intersections between his theory of memory, on the one hand, and his strategy of self-representation, his literary style, and his doctrine of infinity on the other.

Course Information



4 Points

Term Section Instructor Schedule Location

Spring 2018

Nicola Cipani
W: 3:30 PM - 6:10 PM CASA 203