As I’d look over other people’s dissertations, I always marvelled at the footnotes and wondered if I’d ever produce notes like that. Doing some revision today, I ended up writing one of those footnotes. It’s not elegant and it will need to be revised (or my committee may just tell me to drop it), but here’s a footnote I added to the statement “But at the same time, to posit Yates’ book as the beginning of a revival in the study of the canon of memory is to ignore the fact that the “art of memory” was being used well into the Nineteenth Century”:

A number of scholars have discussed the Romantics in conjunction with the art of memory. See, for example Hutton’s discussion of mnemotechnics in Wordsworth’s and Rousseau’s autobiographies (History, 52-59) and Kierkegaard’s Stages of Life (History 154-157). And drawing upon Walter J. Ong’s Rhetoric, Romance, and Technology and Orality and Literacy and Michel Beaujour’s Poetics of the Literary Self-Portrait (“Art of Memory” 383-86), Hutton also argues that “mnemonic techniques lay at the source of Romantic soul-searching, both personal and collective” (386). Douwe Draaisma’s discusses Romanticism and landscapes of memory in Metaphors of Memory (72-78), and M.H. Abrams discusses Wordsworth’s The Prelude in conjunction with Proust and, more significantly, Augustine’s Confessions (74-87). I would also argue that Blake’s conception of knowledge as a “form” or “image” has strong connections with classical mnemotechnics (see Northrop Frye 14-18, esp. 15-16). And, finally, for a discussion of classical mnemotechniques in Nineteenth American literature, see Thomas Walsh and Thomas Zlatic “Mark Twain and the Art of Memory.”

Just thought it was about time I blogged something.