- Jun 2021
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Other treatises exemplifying the retreat of imagery from the fourth canon include Henry Herdson’sThe Art of Memory Made Plaine, which saw two printings in 1651 and another in 1654, and ThomasFuller’s 1641 bookThe Holy State and the Profane State, which contains a section“On Memory.”
Add these to our list.
Another English memory treatise that diminishes the role of stimulating imagery is JohnWillis’sMnemonica, published in Latin in 1618, with English translations printed in 1621, 1654,and 1661.
William Fulwood’sCastel of Memorie—printed in 1562, 1563, and 1573—is a curious treatisededicated almost entirely to medicinal and herbal remedies for improving the memory
- May 2021
With some continued clever searching today along with some help from an expert in Elizabethan English, I've found an online version of Robert Copland's (poor) translation from the French, some notes, and a few resources for assisting in reading it for those who need the help.
- The art of memory, that otherwyse is called the Phenix A boke very behouefull and profytable to all professours of scyences. Grammaryens, rethoryciens dialectyke, legystes, phylosophres [and] theologiens. Petrus, Ravennas, ca. 1448-1508 or 9., Copland, Robert, fl. 1540-1547. [Imprynted at London: In Fletestrete at the sygne of the George by Wyllyam Myddylton, [ca. 1545]]
This is a free text transcription and will be easier to read than the original black-letter Elizabethan English version.
For those without the background in Elizabethan English, here are a few tips/hints:
For the more obscure/non-obvious words:
- Middle English Dictionary (online) from University of Michigan
- Project Gutenberg Middle English Dictionary
Finally, keep in mind that the letter "y" can often be a printer's substitution for the English thorn character) Þ, so you'll often see the abbreviations yͤ for "the" and yͭ as an abbreviation for "that".
Copland's original English, first printing of Ravenna can be accessed electronically through a paid Proquest account at most universities. It is listed as STC 24112 if you have access to a firewall-free site that lets you look at books on Early English Books Online (EEBO). A photocopy can be obtained through EEBO reprints on Amazon. Unless you've got some reasonable experience with Elizabethan black-latter typography, expect this version to be hard to read. It isn't annotated or modernized.
@ehcolston I'm curious to hear what the Wilson/Pena text looks like. I'm guessing it's not scholarly. I think Wilson is a recent college grad and is/was a publishing intern at a company in the LA Area. I'm not sure of Pena's background. I suspect it may be a version of the transcribed text I've linked with a modest updating of the middle English which they've self-published on Amazon.
Of course, given the multiple translations here, if anyone is aware of a more solid translation of the original Latin text into English, do let us know. The careful observer will notice that the Latin version is the longest, the French quite a bit shorter, and the English (Copland) incredibly short, so there appears to be some untranslated material in there somewhere.
I haven't searched all the versions of Peter of Ravenna's name (yet) in all locations, but I recall hearing of an Italian version as well (and it's likely that there was one given its popularity).
A bit of digging around this morning has uncovered a digital copy of a French translation in the Bibliothèque interuniversitaire de santé (Paris).:
- 1545: L'art de memoire qui est aultrement inscript le phenix livre treffort utille & profitable a tous professeurs des sciences, grammariens, rheteurs, dialetiques, legistes philosophes & theologiens
Given the date and the scant 16 pages, this is likely to be the edition which was the source of Robert Copland's English translation. As the edition doesn't appear to have an author, it's possible that this was the reason that Copland's translation didn't list one either.
The Latin -> French -> middle English -> modern English route seems an awfully muddy way to go, but without anything else, it may have to suffice for some of us for the moment.