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Habit as Memory Incarnate Author(s): Marion Joan Francoz Source: College English, Vol. 62, No. 1 (Sep., 1999), pp. 11-29 Published by: National Council of Teachers of English Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/378897 Accessed: 08/05/2009 14:35Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use, available at http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp. JSTOR's Terms and Conditions of Use provides, in part, that unless you have obtained prior permission, you may not download an entire issue of a journal or multiple copies of articles, and you may use content in the JSTOR archive only for your personal, non-commercial use. Please contact the publisher regarding any further use of this work. Publisher contact information may be obtained at http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ncte. Each copy of any part of a JSTOR transmission must contain the same copyright notice that appears on the screen or printed page of such transmission. JSTOR is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1995 to build trusted digital archives for scholarship. We work with the scholarly community to preserve their work and the materials they rely upon, and to build a common research platform that promotes the discovery and use of these resources. For more information about JSTOR, please contact [email protected]

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Habit as Memory Incarnate

Marion Joan Francoz

n The Shadow Gordon's excavation memories of of Man,Mary painstakingher father,the novelist expressesconsiderable embarrassmentat the possibility of a connection with the virtual industry that has grown up around the phenomenon of memory. From television talk shows to the pages of The New York Reviewof Books, controversy rages around the question of the integrity or falliof the faculty. Among scholars such as Ian Hacking, Elizabeth Loftus, and bility Frederick Crews, the notion has stirred serious debate: Can false memories be implanted into the mind, later to assume a life of their own? On another front, philosophers John Searle and Daniel Dennett do battle over the questions of consciousness, memory, and artificial intelligence: Can the most sophisticated of neurally based computer technology ever grasp the driving force in the construction of memory-meaning? And does it matter to human functioning? Linguists Johnson, Lakoff, Varela, Thompson, and Rosch dispute the ancient notion of abstract categories that shape our knowledge of the world. Rather,they believe, it is the body that gives form to memorial categories whose manifestation emerges in the metaphors of everydayuse. Again, semantics-patterns of meaning-rather than syntaxseem to be the driving force behind the development of these memorial representations.Meanwhile, eminent psychologists and neuroscientists such as Schacter, Edleman, Rose, and Damasio attempt to demystify the esoteric world of the brain sciences. Each writer, in his own way, vigorously attempts to lay to rest the still prevalent model of memory: the digital computer with its store of decontextualizedinformation. In contrast, memory, each author maintains, is dynamic; elaborated;generative; transformatory; dependent on context, meaning, and emotion; biologically unique, and yet, equally, shaped by social environment. In fact, over the past three decades, researchMa rio n J o0an Fran co z began her teaching career in elementary schools in East London and the Bahamas. She teaches English and speech at Napa Valley Community College. Her articles have been published in New OrleansReview,Teaching Englishin the TwoYearCollege,and College English.

CollegeEnglish,Volume 62, Number 1, September 1999



findings on the structure of learning in memory have been so compelling that the whole history of comparingmind to machine has been turned on its head (Sacks369). The formal algorithmicproceduresof artificialintelligence have given way to patterns of neural networks. In a reversalof the machine/mind analogy,the most sophisticated of connectionist networks seek to simulate in a machine the complex paralleland distributed function of brain cells and their neuronal connections (Penrose 18). Yet, curiously, little of this ferment has touched the field of composition in any integral way. As Jan Swearingen notes, psychological or neuroscientific explanation tends to raise fears of determinism (15); however, even such mistrust cannot completely account for composition studies' attachment to a conservative and mimetic model of memory, long since abandoned by other disciplines. Most problematic, it is this outdated conception of the faculty of memory that informs judgment regarding its usefulness. Certainly, scholarly works by Yates, Carruthers,and Spence have shed light on the intimate historical connection between memory and rhetoric, enhancing our understanding of the rich and strange systems of mnemonic loci by which classical, medieval, and renaissancerhetors memorized their orations. Sharon Memoryreveals how the theories of eighteenth- and nineCrowley's The Methodical teenth-century faculty and associationist psychology, and concomitant models of memory, shaped a composition pedagogy so enduring it outlived its psychology. Current-traditional rhetoric, which according to Crowley appears to be alive and well, still conceives of composition as the emptying of a logically organized thought process onto paper (143-49). Janine Rider'sThe Writer'sBookof Memorycelebrates memory as object and subject, means and medium of inquiry and invention across a Memoryand Delivery,John Frederick Reynolds variety of disciplines. In Rhetorical and his co-essayists attempt to redress the balance of the rhetorical canon, long skewed toward invention, by advocating the restoration of memory and delivery to their proper places as.vital parts of the reinvented classical canon. In order to refute the idea that historically memoriawas concerned only with memorization of the oration for subsequent delivery, Reynolds draws on Yates, Carruthers, and Mahony to reveal the complex and many layered relationship between memory and rhetoric (5-7). Nonetheless, given this historically intimate relationship, a disturbing silence prevails concerning the rift between memory and postmodern rhetorical theory and practice. Yet in seeking reasons for the demise of memoria,this estrangement reveals a far deeper antipathy than has been conceived by Reynolds and colleagues. After all, the whole enterprise of postmodernism has been devoted to the lifting out and dismantling of epistemological foundations, to the deconstructing of the body of privileged knowledge. The memory as a mirror of nature and culture has become an agent of insidious "reproduction."And when knowledge itself is suspect, the expert is seen as the agent of cultural cloning, "the source of many of the major ills in Western society" (Geisler 54).



In an ironic twist of the Platonic hierarchy,writing has now become a source of knowledge, while memory is consigned only to a species of "reminder."One of the most frequent, albeit implicit, claims for writing is that it can out-memory memory. We can "discover"through writing, "know,""understand," "construct,"and "deconstruct."In addition to storing and communicating information, writing, in the process of revision, can "transform"and "refine"knowledge. If Plato believed in the sanctity of memory, Jasper Neel contends that "writing,for those of us who now call ourselves composition specialists or writing theorists, has become sanctified" (3; emphasis added). As opposed to the static and ideal form of memory proposed by Plato, both the process and product of writing represent a more desirableconception of the faculty-dynamic, epistemic, linguistic, socially constructed, and amenable to study, short-term manipulation, and remediation. However, Plato's mnemocentrism represents only one epistemology-that most clearly oppositional to writing. In order to understandwhat animates antipathy to the faculty, I believe it is necessary to examine the variety of models of memory that have been woven into the historical fabric of rhetoric and composition. In this essay, I intend to examine three such conceptions of memory: first, memory as container; second, memory as hydraulic system; and third, memory as body. The last is further divided into the nourished body and, conversely,the anorexic body.As I hope to show, even an aversion to memory manifests a particular idea of the faculty. Important to the essay will be an aspect of memory rarely discussed except in pejorative terms: the idea of habit. Modemrtheory has tended either to trivializethe idea of habit as "rote memory" or to demonize it as a means of "culturalreproduction."Yet, however contradictory,these critiques of habit can both legitimately be evoked when memory is conceived as a storage medium. And, undoubtedly, over the past thirty years the theories of memory most influential on the field of composition have centered on a spatial conception of the faculty,whether concerned with the topology of localized brain function, the mechanics of information processing and storage, the taxonomics of memory functions, or the schematics of representation in memory. Given Elizabeth Wilson's characterization of a cognition constituted through a "masculinemorphology" of "containment,reserve and conservation that operates at the expense of the psyche'sinterpretativemobility" (87), it is little wonder that in an attempt to escape such "phallic economy" the postmodernist body, particularlythe memorial body, has become what Susan Bordo understandsas "no body at all" but a palimpsest of cultural texts (Unbearable 229). Psychologist Alfonso Caramazza, a specialist in the neurophysiology of language processes, attests to the fact that indeed twenty years ago language skills were "associatedwith a specific brain region." However, he notes, "[t]hings are considerably different today."Reading, for example, "is assumed to be the product of a vast network of perceptual/cognitive/motor mechanisms involving many areasof the left



and right hemisphere. There is no single brain center for reading, writing, or comprehension" (132-33). Even new imaging techniques such as PET scans and MRI fall short of providing definitive information about the infinitely complex nature of language acquisition, memory, and production (135). In light of a dynamic and elaborated conception of brain structureand function, I believe that the idea of memory as receptacle must also change. Further, when memory is conceived as complex, flexible, and transformative,habit can no longer be dismissed as rote learning or cultural indoctrination but may be understood as a similarlycomplex and innovative process. In contrast to the conservative and mimetic conceptions of memory that have long dominated the discipline'simagination, habit offers the idea of a memorial body constituted and transformedover time. The neglect of this body may be to deny our students the emotional investment (the imaginativeinhabiting of other'slives and points of view necessary for what MarkJohnson calls "empathicimagination" [Moral199]) as well as the cognitive complexity and reflexivitynecessary for critical thought. Mistrust of memory is not new. But, historically, suspicion of the faculty has been animated by the very opposite of the current idea of memory as a logocentric monolith. It is the very lackof stability,consistency, and predictabilitythat has proved a consuming preoccupation in both philosophy and rhetoric. From ancient ideas of memory as a wax tablet, as a store or treasure-house containing the dismembered stock of res and verba,to the model of the digital computer with its bits of information, the abiding conception of the faculty has remained that of an agent of conservation (Rosenfield 1). The idea of memory as a medium of impression and storage, whether of ideal or sensory origins, not only provides a functional answer to how we know but also reflects a desire to ensure that what we do know remains intact and true to its physical or metaphysical source. The spatial nature of storage provides form and stability to the temporal exigencies of experience. And to further ensure integrity, recollection-whether Plato's dialectic, Aristotle's reminiscence, Ramus's method, or cognitive science's memory search-proceeds by orderly laws that carefully guide the recollector from one memory to another without altering the structure or contents of the faculty. Likewise, the hardware/softwaredistinction of the computational paradigm perpetuates the idea that memorial representations maintain a life separate from the machinery of the brain (Iran-Nejad, Marsh, and Clements 401). "Image schemata,"which Lakoff and Johnson propose as dynamic alternatives to abstract schematic representations in memory, find their most basic manifestation in the spatial aspect of the body, "fromour experience of physical containment" (Johnson, Body21). Ironically, it is this methodical stabilizing and constraining of memory that has come to be seen as its essential character-a character distinctly at odds with a radicallydestabilized postmodern universe. Of the ancient division between natural and artificialmemory, the contemporary bias accords with the author of the oldest surviving treatise on memory, Ad C.

Habit as Memory Incarnate


Herrennium(c. 1 B.C.), that the "theory and technique" of artificialmemory is "much the more reliable"of the pair.(III.xxi.34).Loci, rules, precepts, logic, method, heuristic, metacognitive strategyare techne' generallydesigned to remedy the problem of the fallible and idiosyncratic memory. Patrick Hutton illustrates how the great Renaissance memory systems of mnemonists such as Camillo and Bruno finally disengaged themselves from the frail human faculty to become mystical and unchanging structures that purportedlyheld the Faustiankey to all knowledge: The structure knowledge of envisioned the Neoplatonicphilosopher spacial. was by It was basedupon an unchanging reality,as all of these mnemonicimagesimplied. into memorymovedalongfixedtrajectories be traveled to Journeys againandagain. The wheel,the palace,andthe theaterweremementosof repetition. Workingfrom a conceptionof a timelesscosmos,the Neoplatonicmnemonistpossessedno sense of development. Thus the traditional aide memoirefinally became a thing in itself and "the mnemonist viewed himself as a magus, dealing in an esoteric knowledge that made him privy to the workings of the universe, with all of the powers such omniscience implied" (375). In an ostensibly scientific but actuallyno less ideal and mystical vein, Descartes banished the fallible memory from his Method. In his procedure of "enumeration," he undertakes to compress the temporal thought process into a moment of "intuition." Thus one passes " 'from first to the last so quickly,that no stage of the process [is] left to the care of memory,' and one can 'have the whole intuition' before one 'at the same time' " (Schouls 40). For Descartes the memory in its temporality can only be identified with the machine of the body, resextensa, not with the "ghost"of the and rational soul, res cogitans.Crowley shows how current-traditionalrhetoric had its roots in the eighteenth-century concern with "the potential fallibility of memory" (22). The regulation of memory through nineteenth-century associationist pedagogy, like that of AlexanderBain, resulted, Crowley argues, in a commodification of knowledge-the handing over of informationverbatim and intact "frominvestigator to reader,"whose minds obey identical laws (162-63). The naturalizingof method as "the writer'sthought process"in current-traditionalrhetoric (147) may well have set the stage for the suspicion with which memory has since been regarded.For if traditional mistrust of memory has arisen from fear of its fallibility and has resulted in a subsequent search for certainty,surely much of the current aversion has issued from the very models and mechanisms designed to shore up the integrity of the faculty. The inscribed image in determined space preserved by methodical constraint can hardly be more alien in a poststructuraluniverse of linguistic indeterminacy.The very terms of containment, whatJohnson calls the "in-out" orientation (21), suggest a rigid distinction between individualmemory and the flux of "the social and historical world outside" (Bowden 373).


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Yet as early as the 1930s, constructivistpsychologist FrederickBartlett offered a radical challenge to a static and mimetic model of memory. Experimentalwork with the memorization of narrativesled Bartlett to conclude that "[r]ememberingis not the re-excitation of innumerable fixed, lifeless and fragmentarytraces. It is an imaginative reconstruction, or construction, built out of the relation of our attitude towards a whole active mass of organized past reactions or experience ..." (213). Pioneering French sociologist Maurice Halbwachs, whose life was cut short in Buchenwald just before the end of World War II, also challenged the idea of memory as a theater of private images. Halbwachs believed that our memories of the past are social and discursivein nature, that "to discourse upon something means to connect within a single system of ideas our opinions as well as those of our circle" (53). The recent history of the neurosciences has been shaped by attempts to understand the basis of dynamic changes in brain structureand function that take place as the result of experience. In the 1940s Canadian neurologist Donald Hebb documented the strengthening and elaboratingof neurological structuresthat occurred as the result of learning. Over the past twenty years,work on Aplysia(giant sea slugs) has uncovered "the neurobiological, cellular and biochemical underpinnings of learning and memory" (Yinand Tully 134). But perhapsthe most radicalaccount of the brain's plasticity has come from immunologist Gerald Edleman. His theory of neuronal between layers of intergroup selection (TNGS) describesa dynamic "conversation" brain maps that categorize and recategorize an "unlabeled connected or "reentrant" world." Even though Edleman believes that the origins of categorization are prelinguistic, shaped by the interaction between the body and its environment, the process is infinitely enriched by language and the self-referential processes of higher consciousness. Edleman'sextensive critiqueof the computationalparadigm(211-52) rests on the observation that the brain, unlike the computer,is radicallyindeterminate,an open system in continuous interactionwith the naturaland social world. The preceding brief summarieshardly do justice to notions of memory so antithetical to the containment model. Yet these ideas of memorial dynamism are not entirely without conceptual precedent. In the case of the storage model of memory, as with all dominant paradigms,a competing model lurks in the shadows. This alternative conception involves neither a container nor an inscriptive medium, but a hydraulic model in which fluid flows through various channels. Ironically,Aristotle uses this idea to explain certain pathologies of memory since water will neither take nor store an impression but runs into various courses and tributariesof its own inertia ("De Memoria" 453 a. 14-31). A conception of memory and its contents as running into a network of conduits was inherent in the classical and medieval view of animal spirits that poured through "cerebralventricles" (Mazzolini 70). Descartes's neurophysiology also involved a complex hydraulicsystem in which the pineal gland (a single rather than paired structure in the brain) played the crucial role of gate-

Habit as Memory Incarnate


keeper between body and soul (Rose 76-77). However, as John Sutton points out, such fluid and volatile models of memory posed a threat to the idea of a stable, logically organized repository under the executive of the will or the soul and thus were linked "in the minds of their opponents not only with materialismand atheism, but also with a dangerously irrational picture of remembering and cognition" (129). Nonetheless, the paradigm gains ground, although in a more controlled mode, when, in the latter part of the eighteenth century,neuroanatomicalstructuresbegan to be seen as the basic mechanism of memory. Mazzolini points out that early neuroanatomists exploring the structure of nerves tended to remain "faithfulto a doctrine dating back to antiquity and held that the nerves were devised as hollow tubes allowing the flow of a pneuma,animal spirit, or nerve fluid" (81). Beginning in the eighteenth century,the flow of water began to be seen as an apt image for describingthe dynamicsof habit.At its root, habit certainlydenotes having, the possessing, even containing. But, paradoxically, hydraulicmodel involves a process defined by fluidity and temporality. how contained and directedthe fluid seems to Just be provides a clue to the particularconceptualizationof habit, be it an emphasis on drop-by-drop repetition and practice, on collection and recollection, or on a selfdirected flow. The emphasis also changes depending on the desired end, be it the "solid citizen" or the "free-thinkingindividual."Unlike the container model, however, in general the hydraulicmodel allows for the modification of ideas in memory. Associationism, pragmatism,and behaviorism all found the image of fluid running along well-worn pathwaysan apt metaphor for the sensorimotor action of electrical impulses running along nerves. In his treatise on habit (1890), William James finds his theme in a tradition of French materialistphilosophy that dated back to the Enlightenment: 'Water, flowing,hollowsout for itselfa channel, in whichgrowsbroader deeper; and and,afterhavingceasedto flow,it resumes, when it flowsagain,the pathtracedby itselfbefore. so, theimpressions outerobjects of fashion themselves thenerfor in Justvous system more and more appropriatepaths....' (69)

Thus James describes the brain as "an organ in which currentspouring in from the sense-organs make with extreme facility paths which do not easily disappear"(70). These paths, then, constitute the memory trace.James'simportant idea that practice eventually leads to an unconscious facility had been anticipated by French philosopher Maine de Biranin his 1804 treatise,TheInfluence HabitontheFacultyof Thinkof ing. Biran described the process whereby practiced learning eventually becomes analogically and thus qualitativelyrestructuredin memory. But the idea that much formally conscious endeavor becomes with practice lost to consciousness causes Biran enough discomfort to devise ways of restoring an enlightened rationality(210). In a more Darwinian vein, James celebrates the economy of habit since "the more details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automism, the



more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work" (80). ThusJames describesthe manifestationsof a process by which declarativeknowledge (knowing what) becomes proceduralknowledge (knowing how), a process in which the capacityof working memory is augmented and freed to undertaketasksrequiring higher levels of conscious thought. The complex nature of this transformation explainswhy novices seem to need at least ten years of disciplined engagement with their field to gain a level of facility (Ericsson, Krampe, and Tesch-Romer 366). Yet, clearly,James'ssocial Darwinism has its costs. The habit that liberates some, shackles others. While James subscribes to a dynamics of memory, for him the reproducing of the status quo represents a desired end. The idea of habit as the "fly-wheel of society, its most precious conservative agent" (79), changes the temporal fluidity of the hydraulicmodel into an industrialmechanism, a "memento of repetition." James'sbehavioralapproachstandsin contrastto John Dewey's phenomenology. Habit, Dewey believes, constitutes the very grounds of the individual's perceptualand cognitive functioning; it represents the social basis of sensation, perception, and thought, binding us to the environment and each other, shaping our view of the world and molding our social identity (Human Nature 31). Dewey attacks the idea of the mind as a blank slate: "There is no immaculate conception of meanings or purposes. Reason pure of all influence from prior habit is a fiction" (30-31), and those who would disagreewith him "usuallyidentify experiencewith sensations impressedupon an empty mind." Habit is not simply an accumulation of repeated instances reduced and stored in memory. Knowledge is constantly restructuredby new information. Furthermore,the medium of habit filters all materialthat reaches our perception and thought. This "filter is not, however, chemically pure." Dewey describes it as a "reagentwhich adds new qualities and rearrangeswhat is received" (32). The metaphor of the chemical reagent is a fitting one since the reagent changes the structure and thus the nature of a substance.As the environment is not a fixed entity, "adaptation to that environment is always dynamic," and habit, directing and channeling (Lectures 41-42). Thus James Ostrow, in human impulse, enables flexible adaptation his analysisof the phenomenology of Dewey and French philosopherMerleau-Ponty, writes that "[h]abit... is properlyunderstood only in terms of the experientialdialectic between lived body and the world" (31). Although the hydraulic model is not overtly present, it remains implicit in the idea of habit as a "projective,outgoing force of some naturalimpulse" that has been harnessed and organized (Lectures 313). If one could find the natural stimulus, then habit would be driven by a powerful emotional force. Dewey's educational philosophy centers on finding this motivating impulse to learning. Finally,Dewey maintains that both society and culture are constituted by collective habit. In contrast to much recent sociological critique of culture as a deterministic loop constantly reproducing its ideological structure,Dewey believes in a liberating dialectic:"The more complex



a culture is, the more certain it is to include habits formed on differing, even conflicting patterns."It is the "internalfrictions"resulting from these conflicts that give rise to the liberating impulses responsible for personal, institutional, and societal change (HumanNature 128). Thus change is predicatedon diversity.Nonetheless, if, as William Andrew Paringer points out, Dewey's optimism about the democratic instincts are develpossibilities of culturaldialectic avoids the notion that "particular oped into habits for ideological reasons which preserve those hierarchies," then indeed memory holds us in thrall (90). Charles Camic notes that given the rich history of habit it is unfortunate that recent sociological critique has centered on the most reductionist and deterministic conceptualization (1068). For it is precisely in the mechanistic behavioral reflex arc of stimulus/response that the possibilities of the hydraulicmodel of memory finally dry up (Rose 147). However, Dewey's notion of habit as "reagent"directs us to yet another model of memory, one that suggests a transformative,or as Daniel Bender puts it, alchemical, action (117). Habit, which from its classical origins has represented notions of naturalas opposed to artificialmemory, poses a model that does not purport to be scientific but relies on what could be called folk explanation.Here the already embodied memory is conceptualized as a synecdochical body whose structure and function is sustained by eating and digesting. Everydaymetaphors give credence to the concept: One bites off more than one can chew; swallows one's pride; eats or minces one's words; lies through one's teeth; chews, digests, or absorbs ideas; assimilatesknowledge. Argument is fleshed out and thus becomes meaty. In the carnivorous vein, we may tear into and devour text. Conversely,words get stuck in one's throat; one gets mental indigestion; one vomits, spews, or regurgitatesinformation. Without flesh argument becomes weak, puny, loses its teeth, and incontinently cannot hold water. In general, the food and digestion metaphors relate to the process by which the textual becomes part of the memorial body. Marshall Gregory, for example, believes that many of the humane attitudes that define maturity"areinfluenced by the stories we imaginativelyingest" (57). In her study of memory in medieval culture,Mary Carruthers writes, "[m]etaphorswhich use digestive activities are so powerful and tenacious that 'digestion' should be considered another basic functional model for the complementary activities of reading and composition, collection and recollection" (165-66). However, the digestive idea entails four articles of faith. First, it calls for belief in the nourishing quality of food/text and the efficacy of particularfood/texts. Second, the idea demands a pedagogy that mirrorsthe digestive process in the practice of textual breakdown, reconstruction, and construction. Third, the model calls for a curriculumthat, like the process of digestion, stretches across time, accommodating the memorial need for practice,connection, and context. And fourth, and perhaps most important, the digestive model entails trust in the unconscious processes



necessary to transform a body of knowledge into the memorial body. The dynamic nature of this change involves a dialectic between the textual (social, cultural,and personal knowledge[s]) and a highly individualneurological system, including a unique set of emotions. At the very foundation of classical rhetoric, the Greek pedagogue Isocrates (436-338 B.C.) and later the Roman teacher and lawyer Quintilian (c.35-c.95 A.D.) both understood that it was the long process of memorial transformation,ratherthan the "hard-and-fast"rules of handbooks, that lent itself to the contingent nature of rhetoric, particularlyto judicial oratory, in which lightning-fast adaptation to circumstance was crucial. Both also comprehended that the ethical dimension of rhetoric must be embodied in the same memorial process. Aristotle reminds us that habit ("Nichomachean"1103a. ethikeis formed by a slight variationof the word ethos, 17-18). In keeping with its etymology, ethoscannot be regarded simply as a function of the rhetor'spublic persona but, as Isocrates argues, must be inherent in the inner conversation of thought and deliberation ("Antidosis"257). Quintilian's"good man" is developed by the same memorial process as that which produces the man who "speakswell." As Johnson argues, the "moralimagination"is nurtured "through the fictional narrativeswe imaginativelyinhabit"(Moral 197); it is through narrativethat we learn the metaphoric vocabulary"constitutiveof our modes of reasoning, evaluation, and moral exploration"(52). Furthermore, as a measure of the seamless integration of rhetorical elements in the orator'sdiscourse, Isocrates declaredrhetoric to be a counterpart of gymnastics (185). Neither art can be taught simply by precept; only demonstration and rigorous practice produce the requisite facility and grace. Likewise, Quintilian's frequent comparison of rhetorical facility with musical or gymnastic fluency indicates the degree to which skills have become so integral a part of the bodily repertoire that they do not have to be deliberated on to be performed. Indeed, self-consciousness is inimical to fluency.According to Howard Margolis, the manifest nature of physical habit can shed light on the implicit nature of habits of mind (13-20). Since Margolis sees all levels of cognition, including the deliberative, as ultimately grounded in habitualpatterns of thought, he understandsscientific paradigms as essentially shared habits of mind, believing, like Dewey, that the clash of certain anomalous habits may be the key to revolutionarychange. Quintilian not only connects body with mind but, in his theme of memorial nourishment, also figurativelyplaces the body within the mind as the agent of cognitive, emotional, and ethical growth and transformation.In a striking departurefrom the deference normally given to Cicero, Quintilian rejects the master'sendorsement of memory systems and their progenitors (xi.ii.26). Quintilian'smemory is a "quanta divinitas"that method only impedes from its remarkablefunction. The interlocking provide a variety of ways to inhabit the literexercises of the Roman progymnasmata ary text through increasingly complex and demanding imitation of models (Murphy



xxvii-xxxiv).Yet the end of the rhetorical education in no way resembles the temporal and structural imperatives of the classical curriculum. "The crown of all our study" emerges as the power of fluent improvisation (x.vi.i). For, writes Quintilian, even "extempore eloquence . . . depends on no mental activity so much as memory" (xl.ii.3). The simultaneity of so many rhetorical functions, which improvisation demands, puts superhumandemands on the memory:[I]t is scarcely possible either for natural gifts or for methodic art to enable the mind to grapple simultaneously with such manifold duties, and to be equal at one and the same time to the tasks of invention, arrangement,and style, together with what we are

utteringat the moment,whatwe havegot to saynextandwhatwe haveto lookto stillfurther on, not to mention the fact that it is necessary all the time to give close attention to voice, delivery and gesture. For our mental activities must range far ahead and pursue the ideas which are still in front, and in proportion as the speakerpays out what he has in hand, he must make advancesto himself from his reserve funds, in order that, until we reach our conclusion, our mind's eye may urge its gaze forward,keeping time with our advance:otherwise we shall halt and stumble, and pour forth short and broken phrases, like persons who can only gasp out what they have to say. (x.vii.9-10)

Unquestionably, Quintilian does make reference to the conventional storehouse of rhetorical elements (Bender 121), yet it is equally clear that in the practice of improvisation the elements of discourse are thoroughly transformed and integrated into the memorial body. The performative aspect of rhetoric, the ability to play with so many elements at once, cannot be considered a "knack" an inspiration of the gods. or "Writing, assiduous reading and long years of study" provide a foundation for precept, while "habitand exercise"are essential for facility (x.vii.-9). The ability to turn a critical eye on one's own knowledge and assumptions,to engage discourse at many different levels, undoubtedly involves a memorial complexity similarly produced byyears of inhabiting the text. But the link between time and memorial complexity is

not always apparent.When sixteenth-century French methodist Peter Ramus criticizes Quintilian's Institutio,it is the length of the orator'seducation that frequently provokes his scorn: Nor shouldwe keepcomingbackto thispoint,thatanorator cannotexistwithoutthis boyhoodeducation, thiscauseis too remotefromits effect.Perhaps doctorcanfor a not be perfectwithoutthe sametraining, I do not hearthe doctorgivinginstrucyet tionsin medicinethatderivefromthatboyhoodelementary schooling. (94) Method as shortcutoffersa way to circumventthe temporalimperativeof habit and for that purpose proposes a requisitelylogical and tidy model of memory. In recent years, the CriticalThinking movement has profferedjust such a remedialtechne. In connecting memory, habit, and expertise, Quintilian draws on food metaphors to express the kind of nurturance necessary to produce the firma facilitas.He speaks of nurturing the mind as birds feed their young; "finally,when they have


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proved their strength, they are given the freedom of the open sky and left to trust in themselves" (II.vi.7). In contrast to Plato'sview of the teacher as midwife, Quintilian sees the teacher in loco parentis.Nurturing is predicatedupon emotional ties that bind us to both our subject and object. Deborah Lupton writes that "[e]motions, like food and eating, are commonly regarded as the preserve of the embodied self rather than the disembodied, philosophising mind" (31). Recent research has shown that the tying together of emotion, memory, and the viscera may not be entirely the product of folk mythology but in fact may be groundedin the neurological mediation between the brain and other organs, including the stomach. According to Kevin Clark et al., the mediating nerve (the vagus) is the target of arousal hormones that trigger the memorial retention of emotional events. Unquestionably,from an evolutionarystandpoint strong emotional memories have survivalvalue. Indeed, Endel Tulving remarks that "a biological memory system differs from a mere physical information-storage device by virtue of the system'sinherent capabilityof using the informationin the service of its own survival.. ." (95). In all aspects of the student'seducation, Quintilian links the power of emotion to that of cognition, from his advocacyof early education (learningas play),to his rationalefor public education (audience),to his choice of texts (literature over histories), to his endorsement of performativeexercises such as the or prosopopeia impersonation (in which the student attempts to inhabit a dramatic characterin a particularaction), to his appeal for declamatoryexercises that involve "true conflicts" rather than stale themes. Psychologist Stanley Greenspan calls such pairing the "dualcoding" of emotion and cognition in memory (18), and, like Quintilian, Greenspan believes the engagement of both elements essential to the child's intellectual, emotional, and moral development. Finally, the crucial role of "feeling and force of imagination"as impetus to performance (x.vii.15-16) demonstrates the futility of attempts to abstractthe elements of expertise from their human embodiattributionof expertiseto a career ment. (See, for example, Bereiter and Scardamalia's rather than to a person since people sometimes lose their edge [18].) True expertise involves habit driven by passion. While the care and feeding aspect of the nurturing role seems self-evident, the letting go, the giving "the freedom of the open sky,"is an aspect rarely discussed. Julia Kristevadoes emphasize the Nonetheless, in her complex notion of "abjection," difficult separationfrom the maternalfigure as essential to the integrity of the child's identity (70). Quintilian understandsthis separationas the telosof teaching:"Forwhat else is our object in teaching, save that our pupils should not always require to be taught?"(II.v.13). Other roles-that of the lover, for example-hardly provide for this goal of self-sufficiencyand eventualindependence. In the case of the lover,the leaving however,the question of the teacher's is usuallyregardedas betrayal.Not surprisingly, role has nowhere seen more debate than in feminist circles. Both Jane Gallop and Susan Miller ("In LocoParentis")question the traditional emphasis on nurturance.



Gallop focuses on the reproductiveaspects of the teacher/student, and especially the teacher/student-teacher,relationships.Here she bases her theme of "impersonation" on Pierre Bourdieu and Jean-Claude Passeron'scontention that "educationinvolves, not only the specific case of the student as reproduction of the teacher,but the more general case of student as impersonation of an educated person, taking on and reproducing the style and tastes of a class"(4). Bourdieu and Passeron do indeed offer a view of habit very differentfrom that of memorial nourishment. But first these theorists reject as simplistic any notion of "forcedfeeding" ( The pervasivenessof this metaphoris such, however,that it merits a brief excursion.The images of forced feeding and regurgitationconflate the digestive and containermodels of memory wherein pieces of decontextualizedknowledge are stockpiled. These useless fragments then lie inert in the student'smemory, later to reappearverbatim on command. In a letter to Harper's, Daniel Ryan uses the to criticize the notion of the "learningdisabled child":"we make regurgitationtrope them sit still and anxiously expect them to swallow and regurgitate hunks of predigested skills and subject matter" (4). This "rote memory" argument is often used against proponents of the traditional literary canon. John Schilb, for example, responding to Richard Rorty'sendorsement of E. D. Hirsch's idea of cultural literacy, believes that Rorty "supportsmerely the latest version of the idea that human minds develop by ingesting chunks of data"(147). SusanMcLeod believes that E. D. Hirsch has become "by virtue of his work.. a sort of twentieth-century Mr. Gradgrind" (272). The enormous attention given to the culture and cultivation of memory by nineteenth- and early twentieth-century pedagogues has indeed become epitomized by the oft-invoked utilitarian,Thomas Gradgrind,and the sadisticschool master,Mr. M'Choakumchild, of Charles Dickens's 1854 novel Hard Times.The pair'spenchant for the memorization and regurgitationof facts and definitions, the commodification of knowledge, echoes the ugliest aspects of industrialcapitalism.Further,the brutal suppression of the unfortunate pupils' imaginative impulses emphasizes a rupture between memory and imagination, knowledge and creativity,reason and emotionRomantic dualismsthat still serve to limit the scope of memory. In Bourdieu and Passeron'scritique, knowledge does not lie inert in the memory, but like the "leperousdistillment"poured into Hamlet's father'sear, insidiously spreads until it infects the body politic, thence to perpetual circulation. Yes, Denmark is indeed a prison-but, according to Bourdieu and Passeron, so are all societies. While accepting Aristotle's idea of habit as "second nature," unquestionably the authors reject the idea that habit originates from choice ("Nichomachean" 1152a. 29-32). The term habitusrefers to the patterning of dispositions and tastes, "equivalent,in the culturalorder,of the transmissionof genetic capitalin the biological order."And, as a corollary, education is analogous to reproduction (3.0). Traditionally, the dominant and privileged classes begin their schooling much earlier and



thus lay down the grounds of subsequent knowledge. It is they who later claim the most prestigious jobs and thus devalue the jobs of the underclass. Further, the selfreproductive tendency is most fully realizedwhen the terms of the pedagogical experience remain implicit, unexamined ( In this sense, apprenticeshipis one of the most effective means of the transmission of habitus. Although we might consider taste to be a matter of individualpreference, Bourdieu sees it as a conscious manifestation of habitus.Shilling writes, "Bourdieu has defined taste as a 'classculture turned into nature, that is embodied.... It is an incorporated principle of classificationwhich governs all forms of incorporation, choosing and modifying everything that the body ingests and digests and assimilates,physiologically and psychologically"' (129). However, since the transmission of a "classbased social grammarof taste, knowledge, and behavior inscribedpermanentlyin the 'body schema and the schemes of thought"' is largely undertaken at the level of the unconscious and is irreversible, agency is all but dead (Giroux 89). Because habitus operates unconsciously, it is difficult to understand how it is possible to escape the "corporealtrajectories"assigned to people (Shilling 146). The unprecedented selfconsciousness of the postmodern temper, the turn to criticism at the expense of literature, is surely an attempt to remain an omniscient commentator on this cultural servitude. For if memorial food is a medium of determination, not eating may preserve the integrity of the self or selves. However, such a radical turn from the idea of food as nourishment inevitably leads us to confront its mirror image: food as pathogen. And where better to study the phenomenon than in the burgeoning literature of anorexia.Rudolph Bell writes that "anorexia,from the Greek an (privation, lack of) and orexis(appetite), is a general term used to refer to any diminution of appetite or aversion to food" (1). The parallels between what Bordo calls the metaphysics of anorexia("Anorexia"34) and the terms of the postmodern aversionto memory are remarkablysimilar.When "eating" is deemed contaminating, sustaining the memorial body and, perforce, the body politic amounts to a betrayal of integrity. Even playing with one's food risks the object becoming the subject.ThusJacques Derrida dwells in space:"Eachtime, writing appears as disappearance, recoil, erasure, retreat, curling-up, consumption" (339). Further, in this climate the composition classroom functions as a sort of memorial boot camp where students are askedto seek out and purge past educational experience of "hidden curricula":Purveyors of a body of memorial knowledge are routinely denounced while vendors of popular culture (who use every figure, trope, and scheme-oral and visual-to shape the young consumer'smemory) rarely evoke the same order of critique. Unquestionably, anorexiais an illness that devastates both the sufferer and the family. However, as Susan Sontag demonstrated two decades ago in Illnessas Metaphor,the body's breakdown and recovery can be conceived in symbolic, even mythic,



terms. Persephone's fear of insemination attendant on her abduction and descent into Hades might very well illuminate the hyperconscious vigilance surroundingthe deliberate avoidance of all food. The transgressionof this resolve results in a duality of seasonal opposites, a separationof unconscious and conscious climates.The avoidance of cultural contamination poses similar constraints and manifestations. For, as Susan Miller reminds us, in the patriarchalhistory of teaching, "emission and transmission rhyme." Further, the idea of the colonizing of the teacher/student body is surely inherent in Miller's description of a tradition in which Quintilian's "good man" wears a "culturalservant'sface" ("Death" 43). Remaining on the margins by sustaining a sense of oppression is a stance necessary to postmodernist critique. While it is true that those afflictedwith anorexiaare predominantlywomen, it is this sense of disempowerment that is crucial to the attempt to redefine both the biological and socially constructed body. Lupton comments that food, eating, and the emotions "are traditionally linked with the feminine, with the disempowered and marginalized"(31). Bell's hagiographic study of three medieval holy women, "holy anorexics,"suggests first a quest to throw off all the fleshly reminders of sex and gender, to become pure spirit, but also represents "the contest for freedom from the patriarchythat attempts to impose itself between the holy anorexic and her God" (116). Samuel Richardson'sClarissaposes a literary paradigm of such struggle and apotheosis when, in her latter days, Clarissa Harlowe, sustained only by scripture, offers, in her refusal to eat, her last and most powerful argument against worldly greed and netherworldlylust. It is an argumentwithout possibility of refutation.The impediment of flesh to the would-be transcendent spirit is explored by Steven Shapin, who sees the ascetic impulse as a "tropeof great antiquityand pervasiveness" (24). However, implicit in the ascetic tradition lies the conception of the superiority and sufficiency of memorial or spiritualfood, or logos.In a reversalof the idea of the liberatory denial of the flesh, postmodernism conceives of memorial food as binding one to a material present, to cultural and institutional constraint. Cutting oneself off from the material (memorial or cultural)body necessitates a dualitysince "thebody is the locus of all that threatensour attemptsat control" (Bordo, "Anorexia"33). Ridding oneself of the flesh by gradual starvation or self-induced vomiting has its own rewardswhen the body carrieswith it ambivalentculturalmessages. And as Vandereyckenandvan Deth comment, anorexiais a "culturebound syndrome"occurringrarelyin non-Westernized countries,whereasin "Westerncultures it occurs almost epidemically" (5). In her autobiographicalaccount of her illness, Marya Hombacher writes that "[o]ne'sworth is exponentially increased with one's incremental disappearance" Obsessive critique dominatesthe anorexic'slife. Mir(4). rors figure heavily in the constant watchfulness of the sufferer;the world becomes fraught with reflections without an ultimate reference point. Food is dissected into tiny pieces but never consumed. Indeed, food becomes an invader,a foreign object



within that is not the self. Ironically,the theme of containment is ever-present.Thus Hornbacherwrites, "ifI could only contain my body, if I could keep it from spilling out so far into space, then I could, by extension, contain myself" (25). But the author also notes the terrible contradictionsinherent in the compulsion to starve oneself: "desire for power that strips you of all power. A gesture of strength that divests you of all strength. A wish to prove that you need nothing, that you have no human hungers, which turns on itself and becomes a searing need for the hunger itself" (6). WVhat becomes clear from journalssuch as Hornbacher'sis that anorexiais a self-perpetuating illnesswhose end point is the dissolutionof the body.The image of memory as a wasted body is not easy to contemplate.Yet,as we move towardthe end of the millennium,our disciplineseems markedby a failureof nerve to attempt any reconstitution. Bordo takes issue with postmodernism'sflight from the body'sweight and locatedness in space and time. Wilson attacks "the expulsion of the flesh.. that is repeated again and again in computational cognitive theory" (77). A model of memory that embodies an infinitely complex neurological network, activated,constituted, and reconstituted by interaction with the environment, offers a nexus between biological and cultural, between presence and process. Habit conceived as a dynamic between memory and knowledge describes a process in which both are reciprocally transformed, rendered more complex and flexible. However, the idea of habit as presence raises a significant problem-a question surely at the heart of its circumvention in modem composition theory and practice:what in one of the most diverse and complex cultures in the world at the brink of a new century might constitute a truly representativebody of knowledge? Fortunately,strong competing voices guarantee a diversityin choice of texts and curricularcomposition. Agreement is more elusive. Only when fear of cultural enslavement and the concomitant politics of bodily disintegration give way to concern for students' intellectual, emotional, and ethical strength and independence will agreement across educational and even disciplinary only when students develop habits of mind does cullevels be possible. Paradoxically, tural critique take on intrinsic importance in higher education. All rhetorics manifest a particular conception of memory, whether the idea forms the epistemological foundation or haunts the rhetorical superstructure.But memory in some form or another is alwayspresent. The tarringof neuroscience and psychology with the brush of determinism has effectively maintaineda paradigmthat has served postmodernist cultural critique. However, as I've attempted to show, the model bears no relationship to a faculty that the brain sciences now conceive as a dynamic maker of meaning defined by temporality and transformationrather than fixed spatial location. The memory neither contains discrete pieces of knowledge that lie inert and useless nor involves an insidious process whereby the student becomes the corporeal manifestation of that knowledge. But like the living body of which it is a part, memory is always in a state of becoming. Likewise, the memorial body of knowledge is neither a library nor a database;it defies homogeneity in the

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constant categorizing and recategorizing of cognitive and emotional, individual,and social elements. Such a reconception of memory brings time back into focus, prompting a longer view of the educationalprocess, defying discrete systems and disciplines. Temporality suggests global and interactive rather than purely local and provincial stances. Free of methodical restraint, the flux and change of time calls into service those unfashionablevirtues of authenticity,responsibility,and commitment-values that lend consistency and gravityto the enterpriseof teaching. Despite the prevailing concern with the being and nothingness of the spatial, it is in the acts of reading and and writing that space timefind their embodiment. Inhabiting the text involves a quality of engagement that drawsus into personal, if not visceral, identification with suffering and injustice, with joy, love, and sorrow. But that impersonation does not preclude a largerperspective. Literaturepermits us to live both inside and outside the individual and cultural body. Memorial complexity allows the simultaneous vision necessary for humane critique of our own condition.WORKS CITED

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