Article ID: CBB001214611

Advice for Improving Memory: Exercising, Strengthening, and Cultivating Natural Memory, 1860--1910 (2014)


Collins, Alan F. (Author)

Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Volume: 50, no. 1
Issue: 1
Pages: 37-57
Publication date: 2014
Language: English

The idea that human memory can be improved appears to be as ancient as the concept of memory itself. For centuries, authors have promised that using artificial mnemonical systems can improve remembering. However, in the late nineteenth century many authors of memory improvement texts emphasized the importance of enhancing natural memory as opposed to developing artificial memory systems. In doing so, they portrayed natural memory as something analogous to other body functions and parts, such as muscles, and promoted a metaphorical view of memory that did not rely wholly on the more familiar root metaphors of storage and inscription. At the same time, they stressed that natural memory could be reconciled with moral purposes, especially through notions of exercise, training, and discipline. This article explores these ideas and how they chimed with Victorian concerns about free will, the education of the young, moral imperatives around self-improvement, and the increasing interest in science and especially a science of the mind.

Citation URI

This citation is part of the Isis database.

Similar Citations

Article Dacome, Lucia; (2004)
Noting the Mind: Commonplace Books and the Pursuit of the Self in Eighteenth-Century Britain (/p/isis/citation/CBB000774486/) unapi

Book Winter, Alison; (2012)
Memory: Fragments of a Modern History (/p/isis/citation/CBB001251122/) unapi

Article Smith, Roger; (2005)
The History of Psychological Categories (/p/isis/citation/CBB000501585/) unapi

Chapter Hodgkin, Katharine; (2012)
Elizabeth Isham's Everlasting Library: Memory and Self in Early Modern Autobiography (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201498/) unapi

Article Gerson, Gal; (2009)
Culture and Ideology in Ian Suttie's Theory of Mind (/p/isis/citation/CBB000931966/) unapi

Article Perletti, Greta; (2010)
Dickens, Victorian Mental Sciences and Mnemonic Errancy (/p/isis/citation/CBB001022459/) unapi

Article Vrettos, Athena; (2007)
Displaced Memories in Victorian Fiction and Psychology (/p/isis/citation/CBB001030101/) unapi

Book Seigel, Jerrold E.; (2005)
The Idea of the Self: Thought and Experience in Western Europe since the Seventeenth Century (/p/isis/citation/CBB000930043/) unapi

Thesis Staley, Thomas William; (2004)
Making Sense in Nineteenth-Century Britain: Affinities of the Philosophy ofMind, c.1820--1860 (/p/isis/citation/CBB001562130/) unapi

Chapter Klein, Herbert; (2007)
The Mechanical Age: Nineteenth-Century Materialism and the Human Mind (/p/isis/citation/CBB001035840/) unapi

Chapter Perletti, Greta; (2010)
“As from a Dark and Troubled Sea”. The Light of Memory in Charlotte Brontë's Mature Fiction (/p/isis/citation/CBB001024888/) unapi

Book Schacter, Daniel L.; (2001)
Forgotten Ideas, Neglected Pioneers: Richard Semon and the Story of Memory (/p/isis/citation/CBB000350455/) unapi

Article Obiols, Jordi E.; Berrios, German E.; (2009)
The Historical Roots of Theory of Mind: The Work of James Mark Baldwin (/p/isis/citation/CBB000932526/) unapi

Article Quéré, Louis; (2010)
George Herbert Mead (/p/isis/citation/CBB001252104/) unapi

Book Pietro Gori; (2018)
Ernst Mach: tra scienza e filosofia (/p/isis/citation/CBB991429309/) unapi

Chapter McCalman, Iain; (2011)
Alfred Wallace's Conversion: Plebeian Radicalism and the Spiritual Evolution of the Mind (/p/isis/citation/CBB001201381/) unapi

Article Rousseau, George; (2007)
“Brainomania”: Brain, Mind and Soul in the Long Eighteenth Century (/p/isis/citation/CBB001032675/) unapi

Article Verri, Luca; (2001)
Memoria e oblio in Giordano Bruno (/p/isis/citation/CBB000640769/) unapi

Thesis Jorgensen, Larry M.; (2007)
Continuity and Consciousness in Leibniz's Philosophy of Mind (/p/isis/citation/CBB001561521/) unapi

Authors & Contributors
Perletti, Greta
Berrios, German E.
Dacome, Lucia
Gerson, Gal
Hodgkin, Katharine
Jorgensena, Larry M.
19: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Long Nineteenth Century
Dianoia: Annali di storia della filosofia
History of Psychiatry
History of Psychology
Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies
Journal of the History of Ideas
Yale University
Cambridge University Press
Edizioni ETS
Psychology Press
University of Chicago Press
Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of science
Science and literature
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Locke, John
Baldwin, James Mark
Bruno, Giordano
Derrida, Jacques
Descartes, René
Time Periods
19th century
20th century, early
18th century
17th century
20th century
16th century
Great Britain

Be the first to comment!

{{ comment.created_by.username }} on {{ comment.created_on | date:'medium' }}

Log in or register to comment