Imaginatif Memoria, Memoria, and ‘The Need for Critical Theory’ in Piers Plowman Studies
Imaginatif and memoria are intimately linked in pedagogical theory from antiquity onward. Alcuin’s De aniMAE ratione identifies fantasy and memory as the materials of all human thought. It was assumed that a reader reading or hearing a text paints pictures in the mind, and that this mnemonic task is also cognitive. Latin words were “seen” as single letters combined as syllables, and knowledge was viewed less as a language of semantically whole primary units, more of recombinative sets of design-elements composed of sub-semantic signs that make meanings in constantly varying combinations with other signs. PPl is organized in sets of recombinant images; students should be encouraged to pay as close attention to its pictures as to its words, and allow its pictures to be painted in their minds as they read.