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"And Nothing Will Be Wasted": Actualization Of The Past In Caesarius Of Heisterbach's Dialogus Miraculorum

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Chapter Summary

From its very beginning, the Dialogus Miraculorum, written in the early thirteenth century by the German Cistercian monk Caesarius of Heisterbach reveals its memory-oriented character. In technical and social perspective, the Dialogus Miraculorum is extremely valuable, perhaps more so than any other book of collected exempla. Its pedagogical character makes its mnemonic intention clear. The author uses actualization to mean the mechanisms of retrieval and presentation of the information stored both in personal and collective memory. Caesarius not only preserves his own memories and those of his acquaintances, he constructs the history of the Cistercian order and as a result builds the memory of his readers. Thus, the process of actualization in the Dialogus Miraculorum implies a narrative engagement, both personal and collective, and the special organization of the text.

Keywords: collective memory; Dialogus Miraculorum; German Cistercian monk Caesarius; Heisterbach; personal memory



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