Read Only Memories

01Sep09

Read Only Memories

by Sean Cubitt, in Language and the Subject, edited by Karl Simms, published by Rodopi, 1997.

p.207

The sigh of satisfaction that accompanies the conclusion of a novel is also a sigh of nostalgia. For the subjectivity created in the pursuit of closure.is itself premised on a parallel experience of loss.

p.208

 What creates the nostalgic dimension of a good read is not the dialectic of narration and forgettings, but the ghosts of spent, yet unfulfilled passions, the traces of desire drawn into and diffused throughout the fictive world.

The present with which the reader re-emerges is itself constituted as much by the prompt fading of those active memories […] as by the returning flood of everyday memories.

The loss of self is a necessary part of the formation of selfhood which is so essential to so much of contemporary cultural life. [see paragraph before]

No book exists in the present: reading is a process of memory and anticipation, of looking forward and back simultaneously.

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