A photograph from the famous “American Girl” series by Ruth Orkin. The photos, taken in Florence, depict a female tourist traveling through Italy in 1951. In this particular shot, she is sitting in front of the fountain of Neptune in Loggia of Piazza della Signoria.
It’s not that what is past casts its light on what is present, or what is present its light on the past; rather, image is that wherein what has been comes together in a ﬂash with the now to form a constellation. In other words, image is dialectics at a standstill. For while the relation of the present to the past is a purely temporal, continuous one, the relation of what-has-been to the now is dialectical: is not progression but image, suddenly emergent. – Only dialectical images are genuine images (that is, not archaic); and the place where one encounters them is language.
“Awakening” (Arcades, 462; n2a, 3)
Short Talk On
My mother forbad us to walk back-
wards. That is how the dead walk, she
would say. Where did she get this idea?
Perhaps from a bad translation. The
dead, after all, do not walk backwards
but they do walk behind us. They have
no lungs and cannot call out but would
love for us to turn around. They are
victims of love, many of them.
- Anne Carson
“Prose is a house, poetry a man in flames running quite fast through it.”
—Hell Escapes (Into the Sky)
to make real fictions