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On the Ruins of BabelArchitectural Metaphor in German Thought$
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Daniel Purdy

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780801476761

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.001.0001

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The House of Memory: Architectural Technologies of the Self

The House of Memory: Architectural Technologies of the Self

Chapter:
(p.146) 5 The House of Memory: Architectural Technologies of the Self
Source:
On the Ruins of Babel
Author(s):

Daniel L. Purdy

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801476761.003.0006

This chapter looks at the ways in which architecture acted as an aid for memory and as a means to conceptualize subjectivity as an organic, intelligible unity. In general, the dual problem of remembering and arranging knowledge for storage are legacies of the ars memorativa. They are derived from preliterary techniques for data storage and retrieval that Cicero and his immediate successors turned into writing. Roman mnemonic practice understood thought as an activity within an imaginary space. Memory was conceived as a space wherein perceptions could be held over time. Spatialized memory entailed arranging the present moment into distinct entities that were then placed within a stable container, where they would be preserved until they were needed again. Within this practice, architecture was presumed to be a stable component.

Keywords:   spatialized memory, data storage, data retrieval, Roman mnemonic practice, memory aid

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