Memory and Material in Early Modern England

Everyday Memory

Memory was not only the concern of poets and philosophers in the early modern period--day to day life in the sixteenth and seventeenth century put ever-increasing strains on human memory, and material technologies emerged to address it. Reference texts such as dictionaries, almanacs, commonplace books, and encyclopedias provided crucial external support to memory. This case showcases several such texts, including, an erasable pocket writing tablet, which enabled reference consultation and note taking while on the go and Cosimo Rosselli's Thesaurus Artificiosae Memoriae, which melds the traditional memory arts with the increasingly-popular genre of printed reference text. 


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