v

98
there is far more to Renaissance magic than Yates's "Hermetic magus," and it is possible that more nuanced understandings of the magical tradition may help us to re-assess Bruno's mnemotechnics, not as a theory of knowledge, a "true semiotics," or a pedagogical tool for memorising words and objects, but as an "art" whose perfection lay in the highest imaginable forms of human action. Bruno's art, as Rita Sturlese herself once noted, "opened the way for an art of transforminp nature and operating on the human mind," and as such might well have been seen as "magic" in Bruno's own understanding of the term. IDS

VI

Amorem, artem, magrarn, mathesim
Brunian Images and the Domestication of the Soul

In his first extant mnemotechnical work, the De umbris idearum, published in Paris in 1582, Bruno insisted that his treatment of the art took two forms. His art had a »double aspect«, he said, the subsidiary aspect was a straightforward means of cultivating artificial memory (certum memoriae per artificium comparandae genus),' the primary aspect, was »higher and more general«, because it was intended for »ordering all the operations of the soul«, or because it was »the centre of many methods«." In this paper I propose to consider how Bruno thought his art might contribute to »ordering the operations of the soul«, and to characterize his mnemonic works as a practice as well as a theory of knowledge. My main focus will be on Bruno's third mnemonic work, the Triginta sigillorum, published in England in 1583, and its role as an instrument of ethical reform, but I want to begin with a brief discussion of Bruno's De umbris, where he discusses the connections between the images used in his art, and the nature of the affective and intellectual faculties. Bruno starts his disquisition on the »shadows of ideas« with an allusion to two scriptural texts from the books of Solomon. He begins with the Song of Songs (II, 3): »1 sat down under his shadow with great delight and his fruit was sweet to my taste«, as an image of the »perfection of rnan«.' This is juxtaposed with the first chapter of Ecclesiastes, with its descant on the incapacities of human knowledge.' The delightful shadow of the beloved's »apple tree« is then read as an epistemological parable. It is sufficient, he

I

Giordano

Bruno, De umbris idearum ... Ad internam scripturam, non vulgares per memoriam

operationes explicatis (Paris 1582) ed. Rita Srurlese, De umbris idearum (Florence 1991), P: 24. 2. Ibid., P.2.3: »Arrem istarn sub duplici forma tracrarnus, atque via: qua rum altea est altior et generalis tum ad omnes animi operationes ordinandis, rum, tum etiam est caput mulrarurn methode-

3 Ibid., p. 25: »Horninis perfectionem, er melioris quod in hoc mundo haberi possit adeptionem insinuans Hebraeorum sapicntissirnus, amicam suam ita loquenrern introducit: -Sub umbra illius quem desideraveram sedi..«
108 R. STURLESE, Per un'interpretazione,

cit., p. 968.

4 !bid, p. 25: »Non enim est tanta haec nostra natura ur pro sua capicirare ipsum veriratis campum lllcolat; dictum est enim: -Vaniras homo vivens., -Universa vaniras..«