Loving Memory: Anamnesis and Hypomnesis
136 - 140 (4)
Performance Research: a journal of the performing arts
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Possible relations between libraries and death, books and gravestones, are manifold. One may think, for example, of relations between the spirit and the letter (soul and body, the material and the immaterial), not least with the ‘care of self’ in associating philosophical reading with contemplative preparation for death. In the relation between the metaphorical and the literal, what is offered to reflection in both cemetery and library (through a reading of names and a concern for memory) is an appeal to and for loving memory. Furthermore, alongside these manifold senses of literacy, relations between libraries and death involve practices intended to ‘show respect’—for example, by keeping quiet and not causing a ‘disturbance’. How does the ephemerality of these situations correlate with the enduring pathos of writing in stone, evoking the books of life and death as distinct, say, from the legibility of fossils? Faced with the necro-politics of capitalism, who would we be if inscriptions on gravestones became, indeed, illegible—not because they had been effaced in time (their outline erased by the weather), but because we no longer understood ourselves to be addressed by them—or even, if we perhaps no longer cared?
- Department of Drama