oh, well, whatever . . .

while out walking with kafka and felicity

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The power of the concept of heterotopia lies in its ambiguity, that it can be a site of order just as much as it can be a site of resistance. This ambivalence is at the centre of the utopian idea of modern society that took shape in the eighteenth century. It is the ambivalence contained in the idea of heterotopia as both the castles of the Marquis de Sade and Franz Kafka. 

 Kevin Hetherington
“The Badlands of Modernity”


The present epoch will perhaps be above all the epoch of space . . . The anxiety of our era has to do fundamentally with space, no doubt a great deal more than with time.

Michel Foucault
“Of Other Spaces”


At the same time, images offer location to their own contents, whether these contents be cognitive, emotional, linguistic or . . . imaginational. Scintillating on the surface of the psyche, while also proceeding from its depths, particular images act to implace such contents by offering them imaginal aegis, a home for their continued prospering. Bachelard calls this specifically imaginal sense of place “felicitous space”; in contrast with the “indifferent space” of the surveyor, this is the “space we love,” that is, “eulogized space”.

 Edward S. Casey
“The Fate of Place”


There is a photograph still extant of Franz Kafka arriving in Spindelmuhle, the winter resort where on the same evening of January 27, 1922, he began writing The Castle. Like the country doctor of his own incomparable story or like the formidable Klamm in The Castle itself, Kafka made the trip rather laboriously by horse-drawn sleigh; in the photo he stands, pinched and shy, by the rear runners, his ordinary street shoes heaped with snow. A faint smile appears to play upon his lips, but it is difficult to tell for the print is blurred. It is evening; snow is falling. Drifting snowflakes speckle the flanks of the two black horses that pull his sleigh. Kafka arrived in this north Bohemian town near the source of the Elbe just as K. himself, the truculent surveyor of The Castle, arrived. “It was late evening when K. arrived,” the novel begins, “the village lay under deep snow.”

Eric Ormsby


Written by yammering

January 3, 2010 at 3:57 pm

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