Wednesday, April 11, 2007

autobiographics . . .

“I have long, indeed for years, played with the idea of setting out the sphere of life – bios – graphically on a map.”

“For autobiography has to do with time, with sequence and what makes up the continuous flow of life. Here, I am talking of a space, of moments and discontinuities. For even if months and years appear here, it is in the form they have at the moment of recollection. This strange form – it may be called fleeting or eternal – is in neither case the stuff that life is made of. And this is shown not so much by the role that my own life plays here, as by that of the people closest to me . . . whoever and whenever they may have been. The atmosphere of the city that is here evoked allots them only a brief, shadowy existence. They steal along its walls like beggars, appear wraithlike at windows, to vanish again, sniff at thresholds like a genius loci, and even if they fill whole quarters with their names, it is as a dead man’s fills his gravestone.”

(Walter Benjamin, "Berlin Chronicle." Trans. Edmond Jephcott)

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