IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 199: Keynote Lecture 2018: The Metaphors They Lived by: Verbal Imagery of Memory in the Middle Ages (Language: English)

Monday 2 July 2018, 13.00-14.00

Introductions:Lucie Doležalová, Faculty of Humanities
Jan Čermák, Department of English, Univerzita Karlova, Praha
Speaker:Farkas Gabor Kiss, Department for Early Hungarian Literature, Eötvös Loránd University, Budapest

Recent research suggests that human cognition relies on metaphor systems in the process of thinking, and metaphors have a fundamental role in human perception and understanding by allowing the mind to construct complex social, cultural, and psychological realities. In this lecture, I will discuss the main medieval trends in metaphoric descriptions of the mental processes of reminiscing and memorisation, focusing on the medieval Western tradition. Everyday mnemonic practices were commonly described using highly sophisticated metaphorical language, as knowledge was supposed to be ‘sent to the memory cell’, ‘impressed on the mind’, ‘elevated’, or ‘dilated into the mental space’. The metaphor systems of memory have radically changed from Late Antiquity to the late Middle Ages, and the 12th century marked a turning point in this process, closely reflecting the revival of Greco-Arabic medicine, meditative spirituality, and dialectic thinking. The lack of first-language competence in Latin eased the invention and the acceptance of metaphoric expressions by the speakers, which in turn catalysed the vernacular usage of these phrases. Although I will mainly focus on the evolution of the medieval Latin imagery of memory (using primarily texts from the Victorine school and scholasticism), Arabic, Greek, and other European vernacular traditions will be considered, too.

Please note that admission to this event will be on a first-come, first-served basis as there will be no tickets. Please ensure that you arrive as early as possible to avoid disappointment.