chapter  4
The Faculty of Memory
Pages 20

Although it has been traditional to dismiss the art of Memory or "mnemotechnics" (Yates xi) as a theoretically uninteresting set of tricks for imposing images on places to aid in memorizing the parts of a speech, in fact, when we set out to study the history of memory in rhetorical theory, what we discover is an entangled relationship among the most fundamental problems of philosophy, physiology, psychology, and rhetoric. Regrettably, however, we have become so mindful of the disciplinary boundaries institutionalized at the end of the nineteenth century that we have yielded up essential pieces of our discipline without contest. After the tum of the century, rhetoric (conceived of as written composition) in English departments was reduced to style and arrangement, with invention bootlegged in under the patterns of development, while delivery and a cursory treatment of artificial memory were relinquished to speech communication. Problems about the nature of mind-for which natural memory is an essential consideration-were split into physiological studies of the brain, psychological (experimental) studies of behavior, philosophical studies of meaning, and the quest for latent memory or the unconscious in the scientific aberration of psychoanalysis.