IMC 2018: Sessions

Session 522: Mnemonic Verses and Devices

Tuesday 3 July 2018, 09.00-10.30

Moderator/Chair:Lucie Doležalová, Faculty of Humanities
Paper 522-aMaking Mynde: Mnemonic Devices as Clues to the Audience of a Middle English Bible Summary
(Language: English)
Hannah Schuhle-Lewis, Faculty of English Language & Literature, University of Oxford
Index terms: Biblical Studies, Language and Literature - Middle English
Paper 522-b'Unde versus': The Mnemonic Poetry of Leeds, Royal Armouries MS I.33
(Language: English)
Antti Ijäs, Department of World Cultures, University of Helsinki
Index terms: Education, Language and Literature - Latin
Paper 522-cAcrostics and the Art of Memory in Poland and Silesia in the Late Middle Ages
(Language: English)
Rafał Wójcik, Section of Old Prints, University Library, Adam Mickiewicz University, Poznań
Index terms: Language and Literature - Latin, Literacy and Orality, Religious Life, Rhetoric

Paper -a:
The paper will examine the mnemonic techniques employed in Trinity College Oxford 93, a unique prose summary of the Wycliffite Bible, in relation to its purpose and audience. It will focus on the balance between prompts designed to aid recollection of scripture (for example incomplete or leading phrases), and those elements that seem designed to encourage memorisation of the summary itself (vivid imagery, textual divisions, layout). By probing the distinctions and overlaps between these categories, and considering the ways in which the techniques are employed and distributed throughout the text, the paper will aid understanding of this manuscript and of contemporary attitudes to the Bible more generally.

Paper -b:
The unique Royal Armouries Leeds MS I.33 (early 14th century) is the earliest fencing manual known, and one of the relatively few written in Latin. In addition to the detailed instructional prose captions, it incorporates a total of 22 distinct lines of didactic verse in (attempted) dactylic hexameter. These verses have been considered to be mnemonic aids or independent maxims, composed either specifically for the manuscript or existing independently. I propose on internal textual evidence that the verses are fragmentary citations from a didactic poem of authorship separate from the main text of the present manuscript.

Paper -c:
This paper will examine connections between acrostic form (including abecedaries) of poetry and prayers and the art of memory in Poland and Silesia in the late Middle Ages. The main goal will be to show different functions of this kind of poetry, however, I will focus on discussing their mnemonic role. Two different ‘schools’ of composing acrostic poetry and prayers will be discussed: Cistercian (especially from Silesia) and Observant (Poland). There will be examined also different aspects of reading and understanding of acrostic form and its relationship to the classical art of memory.