The poet as master builder: composition and locational memory in the Middle Ages.
First though, I need to make some elementary definitions - elementary because they are not peculiar to "the" art of memory discussed by Frances Yates in her book of that somewhat misleading title. Rather these distinctions are universally made by writers on memory. First of all, human memory operates in signs, images that call up material which is not immediately present to one. So all memories are images. Then there is the distinction in remembering something between its exact reproduction and its reconstruction or "translation" in memory. The former, what we now call rote memorization, was called in Latin memoria verborum or verbatim and was always thought to be by itself an ability of minor cognitive value. The latter, reconstructive memory, was called memoria rerum or sententialiter and is fundamental to understanding human learning. The phrase is best translated into English as "remembering the substance" - it should be left as open-ended as that.
A locational memory system is any scheme that establishes a set of ordered, clearly articulated, and readily recoverable background locations into which memory "images" are consciously placed. These images, often called agent images for they are "active," function like the icons in a computer program in that they set in motion a task, the associative procedures of recollection. Within each background, discrete images can be grouped together in scenes, their number limited only by short-term memory. The images provide the associative cues to particular material; their "places" provide the relationship of these matters to one another. The power of this elementary technique is that it provides immediate access to whatever piece of stored material one may want, and it also provides the means to construct any number of cross referencing, associational links among the elements in such schemes. It provides one with a random access memory as well as schematics or templates upon which to construct any number of additional collations and concordances of material. This latter goal is what we might recognize as composition, or "gathering," in the language of Hugh of St. Victor.(1)
I will be considering buildings of the imagination as machines for making encyclopedic fictions: churches, monastery buildings of every sort, castles, towers (or strongholds), amphitheaters. There are other smaller-scale forms equally useful and as widely employed: trees, ladders, cloisters or enclosed gardens, and wheels. Though these forms are not all buildings, they are all built by an architectus or master builder. I will argue that the master builder trope for every sort of composition, including one's own character, is basic in the Middle Ages; that it specifically invokes mnemonic technique; that it received its main nurturance within monastic culture; that when the ancient art of memory described by Cicero made its reappearance it did so within the context of these long-standing monastic practices.
During their descent into the seventh circle of the great pit of hell, while pausing to strengthen themselves against the stench emanating from the lowest tiers, Virgil explains to Dante the ratio or plan of the structure he is viewing. "My son," he says
"|son tre cerchietti di grado in grado, come que' che lassi. Tutti son pien di spirti maladetti; ma perche poi ti basti pur la vista, intendi come e perche son costretti." ("[there are] three lesser circles, one below another, like those thou art leaving; all are full of spirits accursed, but, that afterwards the sight [of them] itself may suffice thee [without my constant glossing of what you are seeing], understand how and why they are confined there.")(2)
The structure of hell is an amphitheater (though Dante doesn't call it that), circular, tiered, and graded. With its ruined gates, broken walls, mazelike bolge inclining into the bottom, its association with unspeakable pagan rites and the persecution of God's people, it may remember sententialiter the most famous of all amphitheaters, the Colosseum in Rome.
An amphitheater is one of the types of public building described in Isidore of Seville's encyclopedia, along with citadels and labyrinths. But unlike the other two, a theater or amphitheater (which is two theaters put together) is a structure designed expressly for viewing, whence, says Isidore, it gets its name: "it is called from the action of viewing, for in it the audience standing above and looking on may contemplate players [ludos] in backgrounds [scenicos]."(3) The familiar mnemonic principle of gazing upon showy active images grouped together in backgrounds is implicit in Isidore's very notion of a public theater.
When Virgil finishes his account of the infernal structure, he then needs to tell Dante how to use it, how to learn from it. Dante says that he can understand the distinctions among the souls in the abyss but cannot understand why the souls in upper hell aren't within the structure proper. Virgil rebukes him:
"Perche tanto delira' disse 'lo 'ngegno tuo da quel che sole? o ver la mente dove altrove mira? Non ti rimembra di quelle parole con le quai la tua Etica pertratta le tre disposizion che 'l ciel non vole,
Se tu riguardi ben questa sentenza, e rechiti alla mente chi son quelli che su di fuor sostegnon penitenza, tu vedrai ben perche da questi felli sien dipartiti ..."
("Why do thy thoughts wander so from their wont, or where else is thy mind looking? Rememberest thou not the words with which thy Ethics expounds the three dispositions which are against the will of Heaven? ... If thou consider well this teaching and call to mind who are those that bear their penalty above outside thou shalt see clearly why they are separated from these wicked spirits.")
It is not enough for Dante to be just a spectator; he must also use the sights he sees for further meditation. Indeed "plain looking" (la pur vista) is useless in itself. The image needs contextualizing, Virgil says - which Dante must supply from his own memory store. The sights of hell are each a moral test for Dante (and for us), not in an informational sense but as a test of character and an opportunity for moral growth. One's ethical character (as the virtue of prudence or judgment) functions within the matrix of one's memorial storage and retrieval systems.(4) So the images which Dante encounters in this amphitheater should function for him as mnemonic cues to matters (res) that he has in storage and now has the opportunity to use in the new gathering place which the theater images provide for him.
When nothing occurs to him, Virgil rebukes Dante for error - that is, for wandering around and not looking in the right place ("la mente dove altrove mira?") "Non ti rimembra" (don't you recall), Virgil continues, the appropriate sentenza from your Ethics? Now the Ethics referred to is actually Aristotle's, but Virgil calls it Dante's because this maxim is (or should be) stored up as a part of Dante's own memorial treasury - ready at once (if his memory is properly inventoried and he looks in the right place) to be recalled and gathered into understanding a new - and at first "naked" or textureless - "sight" (the English pun of sight/site is useful, though it is not one Dante had available to him).
In addition to such encyclopedic mnemonic structures as Dante's hell and purgatory, smaller "inventories" are often found in The Divine Comedy. There is, for example, the "noble castle" that Dante sees on entering hell's first circle:
sette volte cerchiato d'alte mura, difeso intorno d'un bel fiumicello. Questo passammo come terra dura; per sette porte intrai con questi savi: giugnemmo in prato di fresca verdura. Genti v'eran con occhi tardi e gravi, di grande autorita ne' lor sembianti: parlavan rado, con voci soavi. Traemmoci cosi dall'un de'canti, in luogo aperto, luminoso e alto, si che veder si potean tutti quanti.
(encircled seven times with high walls and defended round about by a fair stream; this we passed over as on solid ground and through seven gateways I entered with these sages. We came to a meadow of fresh verdure, where were people with grave and slow-moving eyes and looks of great authority; they spoke seldom, with gentle voices. Then we withdrew on one side to an open space, bright and high, so that we could see every one of them.)
Dante has added seven walls and seven portals to the seven pillars of Wisdom's house,(5) and he has also made it into a memory place, using features that were conventional for his audience. The space within these walls is a claustral garden or "prado." In a raised, brightly lighted place, at a distance where the whole scene is clearly visible, Dante makes his inspection. The figures are arranged in tiers, like scenes in an amphitheater and also like books in a bookcase. And like such books they are identified by a name, each of which will recall appropriate dicta et facta memorabilia (memorable words and deeds) that have their places in the public memory archive.(6)
Several similar moments occur in Chaucer's work. When the narrator, on eagle-back, arrives at the "castel" of Fame, he stops for an inspection:
But natheles al the substance I have yit in my remembrance; For whi me thoughte, be Seynt Gyle! Al was of ston of beryle, Bothe the castel and the tour
But many subtil compassinges, Babewynnes and pynacles, Ymageries and tabernacles, I say; and ful eke of wyndowes, As flakes falle in grete snowes. And eke in ech of the pynacles Weren sondry habitacles, In which stoden, al withoute - Ful the castel, al aboute - Of all maner of mynstralles, And gestiours, that tellen tales Both of wepinge and of game, Of al that longeth unto Fame.
(But nonetheless I have all the substance in my memory yet, for it seemed to me, by St. Giles, that it was all of beryl-stone, both the castle and the tower .... I saw there many delicate compassings, babewins and pinnacles, imageries and tabernacles; and it was also as full of windows as flakes fall in great snows. And also in each of the pinnacles were various habitacles, in which stood, all on the outside fully about the castle, all manner of minstrals and gestours, who tell tales both of sorrow and of joy, of all the matters that belong to Fame.)(7)
Chaucer beholds this fantastic structure from a distance that allows him to see it all at once (that too is a standard element of memory technique) on the top of a hill. Scanning the mural encyclopedia of famous "gestours," musicians, and magicians takes him a long while of musing, he says (1285-88) upon the "native essence" of Fame. Like Dante's beholding, Chaucer's is no matter of "pure looking" but an occasion for meditational recollection.
These "walles of beryl" with their gargoyles, pinnacles ("finials"), imageries ("architraval niches"), and tabernacles (a word whose resonance in a mnemonic context will become clear later in this essay) - all of them habitations for "agent images" of Fame's various folk - are in structure most like an elaborate late Gothic facade, a point several other readers have made. Yet although this is an example of architectural ecphrasis, it is both insubstantial and vague in naturalistic terms, as insubstantial as fantasy. In fact the structure serves to organize a list of names - as it does in the case of Dante's display of the best products of human thought in the Elysium canto of Inferno.(8)
Another Gothic wall, this time of an interior chamber, serves a similar function in The Book of the Duchess:
my chambre was Ful wel depeynted, and with glas Were al the wyndowes wel yglased, Ful clere ...
For hooly al the story of Troye Was in the glasynge ywroght thus, Of Ector and of kyng Priamus, Of Achilles and Lamedon, And eke of Medea and of Jason, Of Paris, Eleyne, and of Lavyne. And alle the walles with colours fyne Were peynted, bothe text and glose, Of al the Romaunce of the Rose.
(my chamber was well painted and all the windows were completely glazed with brilliant glass, ... for fully the whole story of Troy was wrought thus in the glazing, of Hector and King Priam, of Achilles and Lamedon, and also of Jason and Medea, of Paris, Helen, and Lavinia. All the walls were painted in delicate colors with the whole Romance of the Rose, both text and gloss.)(9)
It is worth remarking here that stained-glass windows, when technology made them possible in abundance, were thought to be a form of mural painting.(10) And the mnemonic value of wall decoration in particular was traditionally recognized, for reasons I am about to get to. Here on the imagined walls of Chaucer's chamber are two encyclopedic pictures, one an Iliac frieze in brilliant glass, and the other, if we take the lines literally, a wall-painting that presents the Romance of the Rose in the form of a written book, the fully glossed version that includes the program of pictures.
But what can be the value of such lists? They come without any qualifying comment, a bunch of names plunked down in memorable packaging. In neither of Chaucer's poems, nor in the Inferno, do the figures named play any particular role in the stories that follow. They can mean nothing unless the reader wishes to make something of them - perhaps, in remembering these stories and the matter of these famous works, to keep them reverberating as a potential set of comparisons and contrasts to the rest of the work. We might think of them as providing us with a foundational inventory, and so we could think of Priscian and Donatus (and others, if we choose - or not) when we encounter Brunetto Latini, for example. Or of Hector and Aeneas when we meet Ulysses, or Saladin when we see Mahomet. Recognize, remember, and stand "i-mused," "in meditation," as Chaucer says of himself before the wall of Fame's palace. Students of The Divine Comedy will recognize that this memorial echo chamber is a basic feature of the poem's experience. Readers who will not remember what they have read previously in the poem and who bring no inventory of dicta et facta memorabilia to it cannot use it: for them it is like a blank wall without a gate.
These structures, in other words, are not informative. They are inventional, both in the sense of putting things away and in the sense of discovering things. The inventional nature of the architecture trope is clear in its twelfth-century use. That master teacher, Hugh of St. Victor, says that since sacred scripture is like a building, those studying it should be like masons, architecti:
Take a look at what the mason does. When the foundation has been laid, he stretches out his string in a straight line, he drops his perpendicular, and then, one by one, he lays the diligently polished stones in a row. Then he asks for other stones, and still others .... See now, you have come to your study, you are about to construct the spiritual building. Already the foundations of history have been laid in you: it remains now that you found the bases of the superstructure. You stretch out your cord, you line it up precisely, you place the square stones into the course, and, moving around the course, you lay out the- track, so to say, of the future walls.(11)
A student is to use the mental building he has laid out on the foundation of his "historical" knowledge of the Bible - that is, of its "stories" and phrases - as an ordered structure of background scenes in which to gather all the bits of his subsequent learning. The real power of the mnemonic structure is not as a device for repetition (rote), but as a collecting and recollecting mechanism with which to construct one's own education, and "be able to build onto his structure whatever he afterwards finds" in the "great sea of books and ... the manifold intricacies of opinions" that one will encounter throughout one's life.(12)
This view of how a person learns accords with the fundamentals of classical education, a set of methods that built solidly upon procedures of memory.(13) The idea was to lay so fixed a foundation that it would never fail one. This foundation was laid in earliest education by rote. The procedure has often been described; it prevailed in elementary schools in the West from antiquity through much of the nineteenth century.
Basically, children were taught the foundational texts twice, once to learn by rote the sounds of the words, syllable by syllable, and then, a second time, to attach to those sounds their meaning and commentary. In this method, the phrases of the foundation text, fully "digested" and made virtually a part of the child's physiological make-up, served as a fixed set of backgrounds to which further matters could be attached, in the manner of basic mnemonic technique. The role of rote learning then - as now in Koranic, Talmudic, Vedic, and Buddhist scriptural schools - is to lay a firm foundation for all further education, not solely as "information" but as a series of mnemonically secure inventory "bins" into which additional matter could be stored and thence recovered.(14) It is also clear from a number of writings on the subject of memory training that rote-retained inventional schemes could be textual as well as graphic: the verses of a psalm treated as sets of orderly mnemonic locations will work just as well as a tree-figure or a rose-rota or a cloister garden.
The best-known occurrence of the builder trope, to students of later medieval poetry, comes at the beginning of Geoffrey of Vinsauf's Poetria nova, a work (like Didascalicon) essentially of the twelfth century (1202). Geoffrey discusses invention in terms of making a plan for a building. The language of mnemonic technique permeates what he says about composing:
If one should lay the foundation of a house, his rash hand does not leap into action; an internal string of one's heart premeasures the work, and the inner person will prewrite the series in a particular order, and the hand of the heart rather than of the body figures the whole thing; and it is a mental rather than a physical thing. In this model poetic craft itself may observe what law should be given for poets. The hand should not be swift to the pen, nor the tongue be burning for a word; commit neither one to be ruled at the hands of Fortune; but, that your work may have a better fortune, as its first-inspection-tours [the preambles] of the matter, your discriminating mind suspends the offices [of pen and tongue] and for a long time should mull over the theme within itself.(15) The interior compasses of the mind should premeasure the whole area of the matter. A sure order should predetermine from what point the pen will take its course, and where it fixes its limit (Cadiz). Prudently draw up your whole work into the stronghold of your breast, and let it be first in your breast before it is in your mouth. When in the secret recess of the mind order has distributed the res, poetry may come to clothe the matter with words.(16)
First, invention takes place in the mind, "in the mind's secret recess," "in the breast's stronghold," with the "heart's hand" rather than that of the body, and by means of an "intrinseca linea cordis" (44) - an image I will return to. The use of heart (and its synonym, breast) specifies the seat of this activity as the memory, and the activity itself as one of recollecting. From the time of Varro, Latin recordari (to remember) was considered to derive from cor, cordis (heart); Jerome says, in his gloss on Ezek. 40:4, that the word cor is a synonym of memoria (and the English idiom "to learn by heart" is a translation of the Latin one).
In the memory, things are enclosed as in a recess, stronghold, or box (the words are all commonly used for the idea of memory as a "storage chest" in which memorial things are placed and contained). Composition begins with the laying out of a mental diagram or picture: "intrinseca linea cordis." Linea is often used in medieval memory advice for the mnemonic scheme which one uses to store material, whether initially or for one's own composition. Here, I think, Geoffrey is envisioning the mental action of constructing or building a mnemonic plan or schema. An interior string, of the sort a master builder would use in laying out the plan of a building, measures out the work. With this measure one draws an interior diagram (a secondary meaning of Latin linea). The diagram must have a fixed order which the "hand of the heart" has "pre-written-out" and "figured as a whole." Notice the emphasis on visualization in the choice of the verbs praescribo (for to write something out is to make it visual) and figuro: Hugh of St. Victor, describing his technique for making a compositional plan, uses the verb pingo (I paint).(17) This procedure results in an "archetypus" measured out in memory, the first stage in creating the mental composition: this was also commonly called the composition's res.
The sketched-out archetype is this set of backgrounds into which the main points, the matter, of the composition will be placed. A bit later in this passage, Geoffrey of Vinsauf intimates that he has a circular structure in mind, a common shape, often subclassified as a "rose" or other sort of wheel, or (most likely here, given the reference to "Cadiz") a mappa mundi. All of these are called, in the common language of the twelfth-century schoolroom, formae, a technical word used like the technical meaning of modern English form, that is, "a mold," such as a dressmaker's or a carpenter's "form."(18)
The trope of building, both as activity and artifact, as Henri de Lubac noted, "has a privileged place in religious literature, both dogmatic and mystical."(19) Beryl Smalley finds it already in Philo, and there are intriguing connections between such early Christian use and the mystical "work" of Jewish merkabah meditation, which uses many of the same basic structures as early Christian exegesis, particularly those of the six days of Creation, the ark and tabernacle in Exodus, and the temple vision recollected by Ezekiel.(20) In medieval Christianity, the trope gains its privileged authority from St. Paul, who, in I Cor. 3:10-17, compares himself to "a wise master-builder":
According to the grace of God which is given unto me, like a wise master-builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble, Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day [of the Lord] shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is. If any man's work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire. Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.(21)
This passage gave license to a virtual industry of exegetical architectural metaphors. St. Paul uses a simple simile here, but by the twelfth century this text had become the authority for a fully developed mnemonic technique, using the planus (and sometimes also the elevatio) of a building laid out in one's mind as the structure for allegorical and moral meditation, the "superstructures" of sacra pagina, as Hugh of St. Victor called them. And what for the early exegetes had been a tool for retaining a few principles of scriptural commentary had become as well a complex machine for inventing new compositions.
It is worth remarking that Paul's metaphor is itself a trope of invention. Likening himself to a builder, he says he has laid a foundation - a foundation which can only be Christ - upon which others are invited to build in their own way. From the beginning, in a Christian usage that itself builds on Jewish antecedents, the architectus trope is associated with invention in the sense of discovery as well as in the sense of inventory. The foundation which Paul has laid acts as a device that enables the inventions of others.
The earlier usage of this trope indicates that the compositional schema that utilized a church building was not treated as having a fixed content or one specific task, in the manner of a mathematical theorem, but rather as a heuristic, a device for "finding" out meanings, rather than one that "imparts" knowledge or (worse yet) information.(22) The distinction resides in whether you think of a book or a church as an object to be observed and studied for what it is in itself (that is, you determine that it is all by itself an encyclopedia in symbol-language) or whether you think of it as a machine that you use for social purposes, such as symbol-making, that are both public and personal (and in the case of the liturgy, are entirely both at the same time). It is the difference between an end and a means - or between enjoying something for its own sake and using it for social, that is ethical, purposes.
Gregory the Great's articulation of the "four senses" of biblical exegesis (itself a powerful invention mnemonic, like the ancient circumstantiae of forensic rhetoric) seems to present this trope for exegesis as a finished edifice: "First we put in place the foundations of literal meaning [historia]; then through the typological significance we build up a fabric of the mind in the citadel of our faith; and at the end through the grace of our moral understanding, as though with added color we clothe the building."(23) This maxim, much quoted later in the Middle Ages, shows its indebtedness to Paul both in similarities of language and in its idea. Indeed it is a recollection ad res of Paul, and Gregory could expect his audience to recognize it as such. And he also casts the act of biblical interpretation as an invention process.
We tend to make a firm division between reading and creativity now, but it is clear that medieval scholars did not. Especially in the minds of monastic writers, every verse of the Bible becomes a gathering place for other texts, into which even the most remote and unlikely matters are collected as the associational memory of the author draws them in. Associations depending upon opposition and contrariety are just as apt to end up being collated as those of consonance and likeness. A memorative web can be constructed using either principle, and often (as in meditations, or rememberings, of the Last Judgment) using both.
The literal text, which begins as the sounds of words, is treated as though it were a mnemonic cue for the reader, a foundation which must then be realized by erecting a mental fabric that uses everything which the "citadel of faith" tosses up, and then coloring over the whole surface.(24) In the context of scriptural hermeneutics, citadel (arx, arcis) puns both phonically on arca ("strongbox" and "ark") and visually on the temple citadel, the "city on a hill," of Ezekiel. It is also right that Gregory uses the word historia where later writers speak of sensus litteralis, for the biblical events (facta), especially of the Old Testament and Gospels, are treated as though each were a story-outline, one of 100 Great Plots.
And the proof of the teller is in the quality of his fabric and its coloring - the retelling, not the mere repetition of facta, the foundational plots. St. Paul says that "the fire shall try every man's work" and, though even a poor workman will be saved if his work burns up,(25) the fire of Judgment will manifest the quality of individual work - whether your temple walls be built of gold or of stubble. The concern here is with ethics, the wall-builder's character, not with reproduction - put in memorative terms, with recollection not with rote. You are God's temple, and the work of that building is entrusted to your memory. This theme is realized over and over, both in literary works and in monastic architecture.
Thus hermeneutics, constant reinterpretation and constant retelling continuing over time, is assumed in this model of mnemonic craft. This is a crucial aspect of mnemonic technique to which many influential scholars have not given sufficient emphasis. Modern psychology has associated conscious, crafted memory only with rote, the ability to repeat exactly. Modern scholars who operate within this assumption have critically misrepresented the inventive power of crafted mnemonics. Even Frances Yates maintains that artificial memory systems, built with topical schemes, must be "static" and "naturally impede" freedom of thought.(26) Scholars who say this have not fully grasped the cognitive and compositional power bestowed by an organized memory, operated by consciously manipulating patterns both great and small, for tasks both encyclopedic and particular.
In the early thirteenth century, Albertus Magnus initiated the full-scale revival of the Greco-Roman architectural mnemonic in comments that brought together Aristotle's On Memory and Recollection and the memory section of the Rhetorica ad Herennium. These are in a section of a treatise "On the Good" devoted to the virtue of prudence. The ancient precepts had included a list of architectural backgrounds suitable for mnemotechnical use. These are a house, a colonnade (intercolumnia), a recess, and an archway. When Albertus comments on these, he changes the list of examples as follows: the monastery church (templum), the portico (intercolumnia), hospitalium, and the cloister (pratum).(27) Notice that every one of these is specifically a monastery structure, a monastery being a place in which memory-work is best done.
But Albertus was writing after nearly one thousand years of monastic practice. And the monks themselves did not use the buildings around them for activities which involved technical memory. The buildings that monks were accustomed to construct mentally as the foundations for their compositions are biblical in origin, "painted" in the words of Scripture. Nor are they all buildings. This is a major difference between medieval and Greco-Roman technique, and suggests that one cannot assume that medieval architectural mnemonics derive solely from the methods described in Greco-Roman rhetorics.(28) The medieval structures are what the Ad Herennium author would have called "imaginary" rather than "natural," for they exist only as mental pictures. The Roman writer cautions that although one may use imaginary structures, one should try not to since they are far more difficult to maintain than buildings one can visit often and so confirm by habit (by rote). Yet the scriptural buildings were "visited" frequently in the annual liturgy of the monastery, and their lineaments could also be cued and recalled sententialiter in various ways by details of actual monastery buildings.
The biblical structures include most prominently the six days of Creation (including both cosmology and bestiary), Noah's ark, the ark and tabernacle of the Covenant described in Exodus, Solomon's temple and its avatar in Ezekiel and Isaiah, and the heavenly Jerusalem of Revelation.(29) In addition to these buildings, the Bible provided meditational gardens, the "pratum" of Albertus Magnus's list. These mental gardens, as "constructed" as the buildings, are the earthly paradise and the garden of the Bridegroom in The Song of Songs. Several of these structures, as I said earlier, are used for meditational as well as exegetical purposes in both early Jewish and Christian traditions, and it seems to me that these mnemonics of biblical study, specifically designed for mental "vision," are probably a more important matrix for the development of monastic mnemotechnique in the earlier Middle Ages than is the Greco-Roman architectural mnemonic alone.
Ladders, trees, wheels, and the six-winged seraphs, also all common compositional structures though less encyclopedic in scale, are also all textually derived images that "remember things" one cannot actually see in nature. They exist as words in a text (the Bible) that can be revisited often and in this way be made fully familiar and habitual. But in the mind of the user, they exist wholly as images developed from reading, aural or silent - and these images will vary from one individual to another. The ideal monk's memory might contain several such sets of biblical structures, "seen" mentally, in the way of mnemonics, as a series of plans and elevations. Indeed, since a biblical edifice can only be seen mentally, a physical copy of one's individual "seeing" manifested as (for example) the abbey church of St-Denis in Paris is only ever going to be a "recollection" sententialiter of the originating text, adapted to a particular site and purpose in a way similar to the orator adapting the "common places" of a classical education to the occasion of his speech.(30)
This medieval version of architecturally based mnemonic technique can be seen also in Thierry of Chartres's glosses on the memory section of the Rhetorica ad Herennium. In the context of memory training, he glosses the verb architectari as "artificiose formari," "to be fashioned artificially," or "in accord with artificial memory techniques."(31) So Thierry seems to have understood that architecture, in its complex of grammatical forms, can refer to more than the design and construction of actual or, in mnemotechnical terms, "natural" buildings. Architectari, for Thierry, can also mean to construct a composition on the form of an imaginary building plan, used expressly as a recollecting tool.
I think it is significant that both Bernard of Clairvaux and Hugh of St. Victor, using Suger of St-Denis as his surrogate, should have thought to realize their meditational reforms in terms of building reforms. To these two reformers one should add Thierry of Chartres, thought to have influenced, perhaps directly, the program of reliefs depicting the Seven Liberal Arts in the right portal of the west facade at Chartres cathedral.(32)
These reforms, as we all know, took varying forms. St. Bernard pared down the monks' oratory to an uncluttered, moderately lighted, moderately sized set of orderly backgrounds marked off by the columns and arches within it. In the designs of Suger, Hugh, and Thierry of Chartres, the building includes elements of encyclopedic mnemonic formae, the making of which are at this time (early twelfth century) a distinctive feature of Victorine-inspired exegetical meditation. Their emphasis on architecture indicates that such buildings, especially the church in which the liturgy "took place," and the cloister in which the monks meditated on the sacred page, were conceived to be a meditational mechanism, a structure that not only housed and abetted but enabled the Opus Dei by enabling and supporting the procedures of memory-work.
I do not think this assumption began with the twelfth century, for there still exists the plan of a monastery whose purpose was to serve as a meditational aid. This is the early ninth-century Plan of St Gall, that extraordinary collection of buildings whose measurements are based on mnemonically rich numbers like seven, four, and ten. These are especially rich as keywords to draw in a number of biblical texts and stories. Wolfgang Braunfels and Walter Horn both have likened it to Carolingian literature, to the carmina figurata, the acrostically formed picture verses so popular at this time.
The plan, as scholars accept, was not intended to describe actual buildings (though it has, of course, been realized in model form in this century). Its intentio auctoris (to use the terminology of accessus) is set out in the dedicatory letter that its author, Haito of Reichenau (abbot from 806-823), wrote to Abbot Gozbert of St Gall: "I have sent you, Gozbert my dearest son, these small designs for the layout [de positione] of a monastery, on which you might exercise your ingenuity .... But do not think that I have elaborated this because we considered you to need our instructions, but believe that it was drawn [pinxisse] in God's love for you only to scrutinize."(33)
The Plan of St Gall is basically a meditational machine, both in itself and as the plan for a cluster of structures that were also meditational machines, especially those parts of the monastery reserved for the monks. Many features that made both architecture and manuscript books suitable invention machines were extended and adapted for a much larger lay audience after the eleventh century, but at the time of the Plan of St Gall, the anticipated users of such machines were regular clergy, using them for a small community whose life was continual meditation.
Now a machine (machina), according to Isidore of Seville, is a device that architects or masiones ("masons") use in order to construct the fabric of buildings. A machina in classical Latin was a hoist - hence its association with building. Isidore derives the word masiones from machina, because masons, also called architecti or "master builders," build upon foundations and so require machinae in order to work on the high walls and roof.(34) So the concept of an architectus seems for Isidore to be someone who particularly fashions walls - he may also lay the foundation, as St. Paul says of himself, but the proof of his excellence will lie in his walls.
Isidore supplies one more link between the composing of poems and of buildings. There are, he says, three stages in the making of a building. These are dispositio, constructio, and venustas, the foundational planning, the raising, and the clothing of the building.(35) The architectural plans are dispositiones for a composition that is to be constructed and decorated as the fully made work takes shape - in his letter to Abbot Gozbert, Haito says he has sent sketches "de positione officianarum." The analogy between these three stages and the three stages of constructing a literary composition are obvious: Invention, Disposition, and Ornament (or "clothing").
The St Gall plan, understood as a meditational mechanism, is an example of a group of mentally built structures that seem to form a trope or set of closely related tropes, companions to the "master builder" trope, in monastic meditational practice - both that of individual silent reading and that of community, as the liturgy is a communal meditation. I call them tropes on the model of liturgical tropes, melodic phrases that invite improvisation and elaboration. Literary and rhetorical tropes, when inventively used, act this way too, but modern literary historians have sometimes been less aware of, or at least have less emphasized, the creative requirements of troping than the music historians have.(36)
One example of this trope family is the "ideal" Cistercian church that Villard de Honnecourt sketched into his notebook.(37) It only existed in his head. It does not illustrate any actual building; it is not "drawn from life." Rather, the direction of the likeness goes the other way: the actual building (if it were built) would represent a compromised version of the mental picture which preceded it - as those built in this century from the Plan of St Gall do. The fact that we can build it now is a tribute to the detail and consistency of the mental composition, achieved through mnemotechnical mastery.
But Villard's sketch simply sets down a more general practice. There is an interesting moment in St. Bernard of Clairvaux's Life of St. Malachy in which the Irish cleric, intent on extending Roman ecclesiastical forms over the Irish Christians, decides to build a Cistercian-style oratory of stone in place of the old-style Irish chapels. He decides on a location for it, finds money to build it, and talks to his brethren about the project, about which many are dubious. But then:
returning from a journey one day as he approached the place he looked at it from some distance away. And behold a great oratory appeared built of stone and extremely beautiful. He considered it carefully, its position, its shape and its arrangement, and when he undertook the work confidently, he first told of the vision to the older brethren, but only to a few. Certainly he had attentively noted everything regarding the place, manner, and quality with such diligent observation that once the work was finished, the completed oratory was so like the one he had seen that anyone would believe that he, with Moses, had heard it said: "See that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown to you on the mount" [Heb. 8:5, referring to God's instructions for fashioning the tabernacle]. By the same kind of vision the oratory, and in fact the whole monastery built in Saul, had been shown to him before it was erected.(38)
The oratory which Malachy saw in his vision was not just any old building but a Cistercian oratorium, specifically Clairvaux, which he had visited in 1140. On this visit he was so impressed with St. Bernard's way of life that he sought to be relieved of his bishopric and to become a monk at Clairvaux. Among the many things that impressed Malachy about Clairvaux were its buildings. These were built for the express purpose of meditational prayer, providing an ideal set of backgrounds for advanced memory/meditational technique.
Having internalized the ideal Cistercian oratorium, Malachy recollects it in a vision back in Ireland. Notice that he is in the location in which he plans to build. The plan and elevation of the building are projected in every detail, laid out with his mental line in that location and then, when every detail has been drawn in his mind's eye, the actual construction proceeds, rather in the manner that a literary composition is finally scriptus by pen on parchment. But in building the physical church, the artist conceives of his task as one of reading off from an artifact already "written" or "drawn" in his mind, as Dante says he did in writing La Vita Nuova. So the actual building (or book) is but a recollection of the mental composition, itself recollected or "gathered" from the inventory of the artist's memory.
The most interesting and fruitful of all the inventional tropes developed from the Bible from the point of view of literary invention is the temple-city on a hill which Ezekiel sees in a vision. It was not lost on medieval exegetes that this temple was a version of the actual temple of Solomon described in I Kings chapter 6. But Ezekiel's vision afforded an extended act of purely mental picturing that proved very fruitful as a model for literary and architectural invention, and one can detect allusions to it and echoes of it in a number of contexts. For example, the angel with his flax measuring-line (funiculus lineus) who lays out the temple foundations in Ezekiel's vision is an original of Geoffrey of Vinsauf's poet, who lays out his work with his internal string (intrinseca linea).
In the biblical account of this vision, Ezekiel is brought to a mountain where he sees a sort of city (quasi aedificium civitatis) - a phrase that is made much of in later commentary. In the gate stands a man with a brazen countenance, holding in his hand a line of flax and a measuring rod ("calamus," "reed," the word also used for the poet's pen). The man instructs Ezekiel: "|Son of man, behold with thine eyes, and hear with thine ears, and set thine heart upon all that I shall shew thee; for to the intent that I might shew them unto thee art thou brought hither: declare all that thou seest to the house of Israel.'"(39) These verses were glossed by Jerome as an injunction specifically to remember: "Nothing that you have seen or heard is useful, unless you deposit what you see and hear in the treasury of your memory. When indeed [the angel] says, all that I shall shew thee, he makes his listener attentive, and also makes him ready in the eyes of his heart, so that he may hold in memory those things shown to him."(40)
A set of ten sermons which Gregory the Great composed on the first forty-seven verses of chapter 40 became the standard for exegesis of this whole text. Gregory comments that Ezekiel is called "son of man" by the angel in order to emphasize the distance between the divine vision and his humanity. What can these words plainly mean, he says of Ezek. 40:4, except, "look upon divine realities spiritually and yet remember your human limitations."(41) The idea that the measuring of the temple is an act of penitential remembering is fundamental to how the trope continued to be used (and the connection with penance is already made in Ezek. 43:11, when the prophet is told to show the measurements of the Lord's house to Israel, "if they be ashamed of all that they have done").
The fact that the temple is called quasi aedificium" is also emphasized by Gregory. It is not a physical building but a spiritual one, and so it cannot be understood literally. The measurements given are incompatible - this emphasizes, says Gregory, the fact that it is a mental image. And Gregory proceeds to use this mental structure in the way he evidently assumed it was intended (by the angel of God), as the foundation for an elaborate tropological composition.
All the architectural features are made to operate mnemonically. The seven steps to the door of the sanctuary are a mnemonic for seven stages of wisdom: "In our mind the first step of the staircase is the fear of God, the second piety, the third knowledge, the fourth perserverance, the fifth counsel, the sixth understanding, the seventh wisdom."(42) This commonplace is then elaborated in the rest of this section, from one stair to the next, and a summary statement is also provided. In other words, in making this structure Gregory is acutely aware of the mnemonic requirements of his audience and of the way that clear mental picturing "disposes" in images the words being heard.
Making the scheme is a creative task. When the master builder raises his tropes on the foundation-stones of an actual text (and here we can see clearly the close kinship of trope and tropology) he must smooth, scrape, chip off, and in other ways shape the dicta et facta memorabilia he is using as his materials. So says Hugh of St. Victor. Making an allegory, in this analysis, is not at all an exercise in mystifying others. The edifice of one's life (so to speak), though created of stories available to all citizens, is also a personal creation. This is plain in St. Paul's injunction to be like a wise master builder: the fire will try the quality of your work. And though you may not be damned for building in stubble rather than in gold, God can surely tell the difference.
In concluding this discussion of mnemonic building as a composing technique, I would like to add one more anecdote about monastic builders, this one relating, like the story of St. Malachy, to a monk who actually built a church. In this one, however, the Ezekiel story appears like a palimpsest through the account. It is a Cluny story of how the abbot of the monastery of Baume, Gunzo, persuaded Abbot Hugh to enlarge and rebuild the church at Cluny. Gunzo, like Ezekiel, was struck down by a grave stroke-like paralysis (Ezekiel was struck dumb, remember), when Saints Peter, Paul, and Stephen all appeared to him in a vision and told him to carry a message to Hugh to rebuild and enlarge the church at Cluny - his miraculous recovery would be proof of the truth of his vision. When Gunzo protested, Saint Peter "was seen by Gunzo to draw out measuring-ropes [funiculos] and measure off the length and breadth (of the church). He also showed him in what manner the church was to be built, instructing him to commit both its dimensions and design securely to memory."(43) Having recovered, Gunzo went to Hugh, who ordered the new church built exactly according to the vision which Gunzo recounted to him "in the order in which these things were told or shown to the monk." The angel with the brazen countenance who measured out "the dimensions and design" of the newly constituted temple for Ezekiel, and who instructed him to hold in his memory its exact plans so that he could tell the Israelites how to rebuild when they returned from captivity, is not far to seek behind Gunzo's St. Peter with his measuring rod.
The discovery of the Ezekiel figure in the story of Gunzo and Hugh's rebuilding of the Cluny templum is more than a pious curiosity and suggests that more is at work than simply another instance of medieval typology. It suggests that major monastic building projects, like major poems later on, were expected to be initiated in the form of a vision. More important for my purposes here, it suggests also that major buildings were expected to be made in the way of the Ezekiel pattern, first as mental locations, previsualized as schematized images in the manner of rhetorical invention, of which the actual stone and wood edifice is the "imitation," just as the poet's words "clothe" the substantive composition of his mind. The mental picture or scheme precedes its actualization; I think this is true of virtually all such monastic inventions, and it suggests convincingly that the picturae and formae which we encounter in twelfth-century literature, such as the meditations of Hugh and Richard of St. Victor, should not be presumed to be descriptions of pictures or plans that necessarily existed physically but rather prescriptions or exemplars for the mental task of providing locations for a composition, the way they function for Geoffrey of Vinsauf. They are inventories, strictly speaking, for in them and by their aid one is enabled to invent - whether a poem, a prayer, a painting, or a building.
(1) See Hugh of St. Victor, The Didascalicon of Hugh of St. Victor, tr. Jerome Taylor (1961; rpt. New York, 1991), esp. 3.3, pp. 86-87. The best recent description of monastic meditational "recollection" ("gathering") is in Jean Leclercq, The Love of Learning and the Desire for God, tr. C. Misrahi (New York, 1961), pp. 71-88. (2) Dante Alighieri, Inferno, in The Divine Comedy, tr. John D. Sinclair (London, 1961), ll. 17-20; hereafter cited in text by Canto and line number as I. (3) Isidore of Seville, Elymologiae 15.2; here and elsewhere, unless otherwise noted, translations are my own. (4) On this point see Mary Carruthers, The Book of Memory (Cambridge, 1990), esp. ch. 5. (5) See Prov. 9:1. (6) I have deliberately invoked the common tide of Valerius Maximus's compendious florilegium without intending to refer to it alone. (7) Geoffrey Chaucer, The House of Fame, in The Riverside Chaucer, 3rd ed., ed. Larry Benson et al. (Boston, 1987), p. 362, ll. 1181-85, 1188-1200. (8) A recent discussion of Chaucerian ecphrasis is Margaret Bridges, "The Picture in the Text: Ecphrasis as Self-Reflectivity in Chaucer's Parliament of Fowles, Book of the Duchess, and House of Fame," Word & Image, 5 (1989), 151-58. Bridges argues, rightly I am sure, that the "Gothic" character of Chaucer's walls is generic and "imaginary" rather than descriptive of any particular building, as some earlier Chaucerians had speculated. (9) Geoffrey Chaucer, The Book of the Duchess, in The Riverside Chaucer, p. 334, ll. 321-24, 326-34. (10) See Conrad Rudolph, Artistic Change at St-Denis (Princeton, 1990), pp. 67 and 106 n. 10. Rudolph quotes Theophilus, De Diversis Artibus, II (Preface), where the two forms of picturing on walls, in paint and in glass, "are equated conceptually" (p. 106). (11) Hugh of St. Victor, Didascalicon, 6.4, pp. 140-41. (12) Didascalicon, 6.4, pp. 140-42. (13) The standard history is that of Henri-Irenee Marrou, Histoire de l'education dans l'antiquite (Paris, 1948). On Roman education, see also Stanley Bonner, Education in Ancient Rome (Berkeley, 1977). (14) Several good studies of Koranic schools are available, including Sylvia Scribner and Michael Cole, The Psychology of Literacy (Cambridge, Mass., 1981). On Buddhist practices, see In the Mirror of Memory: Reflections on Mindfulness and Memory in Indian and Tibetan Buddhism, ed. Janet Gyatso (Albany, N.Y., 1992) and Grover A. Zinn, Jr., "Mandala Symbolism and Use in the Mysticism of Hugh of St. Victor," History of Religions, 12 (1972-73), 317-41. A good summary of Rabbinic mnemonic practices and their relation to oral transmission is in Birger Gerhardsson, Memory and Manuscript: Oral Tradition and Written Transmission in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity, tr. Eric J. Sharpe (Uppsala, 1961), esp. pp. 93-189. I thank Michael Schwartz for sharing with me the draft of a chapter on "Memory, Torah, and Magic" from his forthcoming book Scholastic Magic: Ritual and Revelation in Early Jewish Mysticism. (15) This notoriously difficult passage is perhaps best clarified by an early school commentary on the Poetria nova, which glosses the phrase "mens discreta <praeambula> (l. 52) as "that is, organizing your work with discrimination beforehand." Discreta refers not to the moral superiority of the mind (one meaning of "a discriminating mind") but to its ability to separate, cull, and discern the matters for a poem. See Marjorie C. Woods, An Early Commentary on the "Poetria nova" of Geoffrey of Vinsauf (New York, 1985), pp. 16-17. (16) Geoffrey of Vinsauf, Poetria nova, in Les arts poetiques du xiie et xiiie siecles, ed. Edmund Faral (1924; rpt. Paris, 1953), ll. 43-60. My translation is based on that of Margaret F. Nims (Toronto, 1967). (17) This verb is used throughout Hugh of St. Victor's "De Arca Noe Mystica" for the action of imagining, in great detail, Noah's Ark as an encyclopedic diagram; see Carruthers, The Book of Memory, pp. 229-41. (18) Geoffrey of Vinsauf writes of the mnemonic value of formae in line 2013 of the Poetria nova; Thierry of Chartres is even clearer on what such mnemonic formae are. In his commentary on the memory section of the Rhetorica ad Herennium, he glosses the use of forma in Bk. 3.19.31. "Forma," Thierry says, "id est compositione. ... Forma tamen refertur ad manu compositos locos (forma, that is for a composition. ... Forma however refers to places composed by artifice)," that is the artificial or imaginary backgrounds whose fashioning and use are discussed in that section of the Rhetorica ad Herennium. See Thierry of Chartres, The Latin Rhetorical Commentaries of Thierry of Chartres, ed. Karin Margareta Fredborg (Toronto, 1988), p. 305. (19) Henri de Lubac, Exegese medievale: Les quatre sew de l'ecriture (Paris 1959), IV, 44: a compendium of brief quotations from a variety of exegetical writers from the first century (Philo) through the twelfth, demonstrating the pervasiveness of the basic trope is in pp. 41-60. (20) The standard study of merkabah mysticism is Gershom Sholem, Major Trends in Jewish Mysticism (New York, 1954). A recent review of the various threads of this tradition with reference particularly to literary cultures is Michael Lieb, The Visionary Mode: Biblical Prophecy, Hermeneutics, and Cultural Change (Ithaca, 1991). (21) I have quoted the Authorized Version, which here differs little from the Vulgate (variation enclosed in brackets). On the possibility that Paul was himself knowledgeable in merkabah texts and traditions, see Alan F. Segal, Paul the Convert (New Haven, 1990), esp. pp. 40-52. Segal links Paul's use of the temple in this passage to antecedent Jewish traditions (p. 168). See also Lieb, The Visionary Mode, pp. 173-90, and the bibliography given there. It should be kept in mind, of course, that the injunction to remember, and specifically to remember the temple plan as a penitential act, is in the text of Ezekiel itself (43:10-12). (22) A point well made by Lieb with respect to the traditions of interpretive "work" regarding the Throne-Chariot; see esp. The Visionary Mode, pp. 83-84. (23) Gregory the Great, Prolegomena: "Epistola ad Leandrum," 3, in his Moralia in Job, Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, vol. 143, p. 4: 110-14. (24) Arx is one of the family of storage-room metaphors for memory. The word was linked with arca, according to Isidore of Seville: "ab arcendo hostem arces vocantur. Unde et arcus et arca" (they are called arces from the warding-off [arcendo] of an enemy. Whence also the words bow and ark [or storage-chest]). Isidore, Etymologiae 15.2. (25) I Cor. 3:15. (26) Frances A. Yates, "Architecture and the Art of Memory," Architectural Association Quarterly, 12, no. 4 (1980), esp. 7-8. An early attempt to deal with topical memory as an invention tool appeared in this same journal issue: see Michael Evans, "The Geometry of the Mind," pp. 32-55. Evans's essay suggests that medieval schematic diagrams were "a unique commentary on ratiocination, thought processes and modes of intellectual conception" (p. 49). An early essay suggesting that some manuscript illustration programs were both mnemonic aids and tools for thinking is Claire Richter Sherman, "Some Visual Definitions in the Illustrations of Aristotle's Nichomachean Ethics and Politics in the French Translation of Nicholas Oresme," Art Bulletin, 59 (1977), 320-30. An effort to link rhetorical memoria with literary invention is Douglas Kelly, "Obscurity and Memory: Sources for Invention in Medieval French Literature," in Vernacular Poetics in the Middle Ages, ed. Lois Ebin (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1984), pp. 33-56. (27) See Albertus Magnus, "Questio II: De Partibus Prudentiae," in his De bono, vol. 28 of Opera omnia (Aschendorff, 1951), art. 2, resp. 15, p. 251. (28) Both Frances Yates, The Art of Memory (London, 1965) and Paolo Rossi, Clavis universalis (Milan, 1960) seem to have assumed that the only art of memory is the one described in Rhetorica ad Herennium and other ancient rhetorics. Most scholars working within the framework set by their pioneering studies have gone along with this characterization: see, e.g., Agnes Rouveret, "Peinture et |Art de la Memoire': le paysage et l'allegorie dans les tableaux grecs et romains," Academie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres: Compte-rendus des seances (Jul.-Oct. 1982), 571-88, and Jean-Philippe Antoine, "Ad Perpetuam Memoriam: les nouvelles fonctions de l'image peinte en Italie, 1250-1400," Melanges de l'Ecole francaise de Rome: Moyen Age - Temps Modernes, 100 (1988), 541-615. While there is no doubt that the revival of the Greco-Roman rhetorical technique influenced the later Middle Ages greatly, the fact remains that monastic technical memoria flourished without any apparent need for the precepts of Cicero. I briefly described the circumstances of this revival in my The Book of Memory, ch. 4. (29) A recent account of the mnemonic meditational use of the Apocalypse in the later Middle Ages is Suzanne Lewis, "The English Gothic illuminated Apocalypse, lectio divina, and the art of memory," Word & Image, 7 (1991), 1-32. While recognizing that monastic practices were "domesticated" for lay use (chiefly by friars) in the later Middle Ages, Lewis believes (following Yates) that medieval mnemonic architecture "rests entirely on" (p. 15) the Greco-Roman art of the Rhetorica ad Herennium and the summary of some of its precepts in Martianus Capelia's De Nuptiis. (30) This crucial feature of medieval architectual aesthetic was articulated, but not in mnemotechnical terms, by Richard Krautheimer, "Introduction to an |Iconography of Medieval Architecture"' (1941), rpt. in his Studies in Early Christian, Medieval, and Renaissance Ail (New York, 1969), pp. 115-50. I think the mnemotechnical concept of memoria ad res or memoria sententialiter adds a specific, elementary, commonly available cultural mechanism in terms of which to understand the question Krautheimer explored in this essay: what, in medieval architectural aesthetics, constitutes "a copy"? (31) Thierry of Chartres, Rhetorica ad Herennium, in The Latin Rhetorical Commentaries by Thierry of Chartres, 3.19.32, p. 305. (32) Following a suggestion first made by Grover Zinn, "Suger, Theology, and the Pseudo-Dionysian Tradition," in Abbot Suger and St-Denis: A Symposium, ed. Paula Gerson (New York, 1986), pp. 33-40, Conrad Rudolph has recently argued that Hugh of St. Victor is responsible for the general plan and some of the specifics of the sculptural programs at St-Denis under Suger: see Rudolph, Artistic Change at St-Denis, pp. 36-47. (33) The text is in Wolfgang Braunfels, Monasteries of Western Europe (Princeton, 1972), p. 46. On Carolingian aesthetics, including the monastery plan, see Walter Horn, "On the Selective Use of Sacred Numbers and the Creation in Carolingian Architecture of a New Aesthetic Based on Modular Concepts," Viator, 6 (1975), 351-90, and figures 1-50. The authorship of the plan is discussed by Braunfels, Monasteries, pp. 38-40. (34) Isidore, Etymologiae 19.8.1-2. (35) Isidore, Etymologiae 19.9. He says further, in defining dispositio, that "it is a description of its foundations and of its area or floor," that is, a plan and elevation. One sees exactly these sketched for the visionary temple of Ezekiel in several manuscripts of Richard of St. Victor's exposition of the literal sense of Ezekiel ("In Visionem Ezechielis"), including one from St. Victor itself: (Paris), Bibliotheque Nationale, lat. 14516. (36) The liturgical tropes are defined as the additions to and variations upon the basic musical structure of the Mass. Recently, some music historians have stressed that the written tropes we now have were understood to be generative structures - see esp. Leo Treitler, "Oral, Written, and Literate Process in the Transmission of Medieval Music," Speculum, 56 (1981): "music is received and coded through hearing, retained schematically in memory, and performed or transferred to writing from some mental idea of it" (p. 484). See also the comments of Craig Wright, Music and Ceremony at Notre Dame of Paris, 500-1550 (Cambridge, 1989), esp. pp. 325-35. (37) See Villard de Honnecourt, The Sketchbook of Villard de Honnecourt, ed. Theodore Bowie (Bloomington, Ind., 1959), plate 41. (38) Bernard of Clairvaux, The Life and Death of St. Malachy the Irishman, tr. Robert T. Meyer (Kalamazoo, Mich., 1978), p. 80, para. 63. (39) Ezek. 40:4. (40) For Jerome's gloss, see my The Book of Memory, pp. 18 and 291 n. 12. (41) Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Hiezechihelem Prophetam, 2.2.2 (Corpus Christianorum, Series Latina, vol. 142, p. 226:55-56). (42) Gregory the Great, Homiliae in Hiezechihelem, 2.7.7, p. 321: 216-19. (43) The translation is in Braunfels, Monasteries, pp. 240-41. The source is Bibliotheca Cluniacensis, ed. Martin Marrier and Andre Duchesne (Paris, 1614; rpt. Brussels, 1915), cols. 457 ff.
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|Title Annotation:||Papers from the Commonwealth Center for Literary and Cultural Change|
|Publication:||New Literary History|
|Date:||Sep 22, 1993|
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