Federico Rahola

Not a Story to Pass on. Notes for a Theory of Ruin

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Ruins; Ruination; Unheimlichkeit; Historical Time; Walter Benjamin.

There exist histories that can be neither transmitted nor ignored: only re-opened, by dealing with something that refers to the past and yet still insists on the surface of the present - like a ruin. Starting from a sentence («not a story to pass on») obsessively repeated in the epilogue of Tony Morrison's novel "Beloved", and passing through, respectively, a series of Walter Benjamin's well known fragments, a more recent book by W.G. Sebald and a postcolonial perspective on ruination suggested by Ann-Laura Stoler, the article explores the possibility of a political interpretation of ruins. It questions their anachronistic persistence and suggests we conceive of them as living entities whose specific affordance may subvert both history and its narration.

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