It is the body of which roads are the arms and legs--a trivial or quadrivial
place, the thoroughfare and ordinary of travelers.
Although music theory was part of the curriculum (within the quadrivial
studies that stem back to Boethius) at the time of the university's founding in 1477, it had fallen by the wayside in 1645, when the revised statutes removed music as a responsibility of the faculty.
Hopkins provided astonishing demonstration of the use of this "equipment." Second, by temperament and persuasion (where Wyndham Lewis already played an important role), McLuhan saw detachment as one of the essential characteristics of "Catholicity of mind"--but detachment in "community" and "resonance." As McLuhan observed in a 1953 essay on James Joyce: "Reconciliation is not merging" ("James Joyce: Trivial and Quadrivial
In answering the charge that he was a trivial writer, Joyce calmly replied that while some of his words were trivial, more were quadrivial
. He imagined himself a student of the medieval academy, and of the schools of Aquinas and Dante.
"Very true" Joyce replied, "But some of them are quadrivial
Most scholarship focuses on such accomplished mathematicians such as Bradwardine or Oresme; but what were ordinary students, with no great mathematical aptitude, supposed to take away from the quadrivial
," an absolute exploitation of the mind's detritus.
Though out of favour lately, such historically oriented analysis is dearly demanded here, though it is by no means the only possible approach in the context of other questions.(24) Moreover, even the restriction to contemporary theoretical musical concepts does not ensure a direct line to listening habits, either because of a strong theoretical leaning towards music as a quadrivial
art; or because a theoretical vocabulary needed in order to conceptualize musical reality is lacking; or because, as in most other theoretical and analytical systems, of the exclusive concern with compositional procedures rather than with listening strategies.
It thus opens the door to another of the sources of that mixture of Ovidian artifice, Juvenalian spleen, and quadrivial
learning so characteristic of thirteenth- and fourteenth-century literature.