Homes for Ghosts: Walter Benjamin and Kurt Schwitters in the Cities
Under the influence of Freudâ€™s dream analysis, Benjamin writes down a dream about Goetheâ€™s house, which he has visited before and in whose visitorâ€™s book he finds his name â€˜already entered in big, unruly, childish scrawlâ€™ and at whose dinner table he finds places set for his relatives, ancestors and descendants. This leads him to exclaim: when the â€˜house of our lifeâ€¦is under assault and enemy bombs are taking their toll, what enervated, perverse antiquities do they not lay bare in the foundations!â€™. Benjaminâ€™s other homes, his exile homes, real and those imagedâ€”such as the cave-like arcadesâ€”are considered in this essay as repositories of â€˜perverse antiquitiesâ€™ and spaces inhabited by ghosts not just the ghosts of Goethe, but of friends who committed suicide in protest at war. These ghost-filled homes are set alongside those of a fellow exile, Kurt Schwitters, who built for himself three â€˜Merzbauâ€™ home-museums, each one as incomplete as Benjaminâ€™s Arcades Project, each one wrecked by war, like that project too. Schwitters addresses the ghosts of the cities head on in his stories and artworks from exileâ€”these are read alongside the effort to produce a safe domestic space, at whose centre is the death mask of his son.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:3:y:2013:i:4:p:414-426:d:30034. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (XML Conversion Team)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.