Sunday, August 03, 2003

"In the solitude of the work . . . The infinite nature of the work . . . The solitude of the work has as its primary framework the absence of any defining criteria. . . . The work is solitary: this does not mean that it remains incommunicable . . . "(pith... an ezine of poetry, prose, art. Maurice Blanchot excerpt from the Space of Literature via wood s lot.)

:: note :: . . . even in disciplines, that from the outside look so public (education, theater) . . . the work is solitary . . . demands a solitude . . . and an awareness of dangerous memories . . .

"Another aspect of memory as dangerous is its relationship to nostalgia. Connecting memory with ruins, dreams, and the past casts memory in the seemingly romantic light of nostalgia. The result of this casting could be to rob memory of its danger, to smooth the rough edges of memories not so much to fit them into continuous narratives but to offer the possibility of resignation given the distance and irrelevance of the remembered past to present concerns. Metz, for example, worries about "memories which bathe everything from the past in a soft, conciliatory light" from which "everything dangerous, oppressive and demanding has vanished" because they are "deprived of all future..."

"Milan Kundera provides an example of the shock of nostalgia at the beginning of The Unbearable Lightness of Being. In the course of discussing Nietzsche's notion of eternal return, Kundera writes, "Not long ago, I caught myself experiencing a most incredible sensation. Leafing through a book on Hitler, I was touched by some of the portraits: they reminded me of my childhood. I grew up during the war; several members of my family perished in Hitler's concentration camps; but what were their deaths compared with the memories of a lost period in my life, a period that would never return?" The "lesson" Kundera derives from this experience: "This reconciliation with Hitler reveals the profound moral perversity of a world that rests essentially on the nonexistence of return, for in this world everything is pardoned in advance and therefore everything cynically permitted." "Nostalgia" is the refusal to let the past be simply past while resisting its incorporation into the present. There is a future content to nostalgia that can be dangerous."(Confino and Fritzsche/The Work of Memory. Epilogue: Dangerous Memories)