On nostalgia – more thoughts from Reading Loop 11/5/11

On nostalgia:

It is, says Susan Stewart, a “sadness without an object”, an “inauthentic longing”, “a genesis where lived and mediated experience are one, where authenticity and transcendence are both present and everywhere”… It is “the repetition that mourns the inauthenticity of all repetition and denies the repetition’s capacity to form identity”.

Impossible to reconcile “les jardins [et] les sables” [gardens and sands] (Edouard Glissant), impossible to simultaneously see the glass and the view from the window (Ortega y Gasset)… Comprehension is oscillatory – which, blurred, appears as synthesis, but “defer[s], perhaps endlessly, the vanishing horizon of authenticity” (John Frow). Maybe ‘exile’, whose expression is nostalgia, is the alienation brought about by the failure to resolve this dialectic between the ‘real’ and its reduction(s). Exile, then, this isolation in an incommunicable reality, would be the permanent condition, and not some extra-ordinary state of being.

(Ovid might lament being thrust among the barbarians, but the lamentations are not his. Rather, they are the cries of an imagined self from an imagined Rome – spatial exile, not to be confused with separation, is only another nationalist figment.)

E.D.

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