Thursday, December 21, 2017

all things else

I'm laying together excerpts from various books I've read, as before, last year, and this might as well continue until the end of the month. Here -

Carmarthen hills are green and low
And therealong the small sheep go
Whose voices to the valley come
At eve, when all things else are dumb.

(Dudley G. Davies, Carmarthenshire, 1871 (?), from Anglo-Welsh Poetry 1480 – 1980, 1985, ed. Raymond Garlick & Roland Mathias)

In contrast to all the semantically encoded spaces discussed so far, it is possible for different characters to meet in a neutral space, even if they do not agree on its meaning. Here they need not adapt to each others' perception of lived space, since these sites are free of any semantic encoding which demands compromise. Indeed, neutral spaces differ from significant spaces precisely in that they do not allow her the sense of belonging or even of habitation. Instead they offer an ecstatic feeling of spacelessness and a momentary sensation of unity between self and world.

While Miriam views her own room as a place engendering a feeling of transcendence which heightens and accumulates impressions, i.e., the transcendence of recollection, neutral space involves an ecstatic transcendence into nowhere, which disperses and scatters thought and does not strive for transformative synthesis.

(Elisabeth Bronfen, Dorothy Richardson's Art of Memory: Space, Identity, Text, 1999, tr. Victoria Appelbe)

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