Paolo Rossi

Giordano Bruno: memoria e magia

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The most important interpretations of memory machine presented by Bruno in "De umbris idearum" are here discussed. Bruno's art of memory cannot be interpreted as a simple technique for remembering. Bruno radically transformed the ancient "ars memorativa" and literally destroyed it. His memory machine, as some of Leonardo's machines, cannot work and, as Rossi points out, is strictly and irremediably connected with the tradition of magic. According to Bruno and his doctrine of "contractiones", not only memory, but also emotions, ideas, and impressions we received from the external world can be regulated by human will. Dame Frances Yates was right: "Bruno's mind is working on lines which is extremely difficult for a modern to recapture".

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