What would it be like to think language and place in the same breath? To discover place by creating it through the pleasure of words. Or to lose place, suffering dislocation as one loses language. Then, finding one’s way through language, a sustenance scarcely to be believed.
Losing place. One speaks of losing one’s place in a book, missing a line, missing a beat while reading. But place? How might it be possible to lose that?
As a child, moving from one country to the other and back again, across the dark stretch of the Indian Ocean, I often felt I had lost place. A house with…
The topography of the world is mapped onto the brain in overlapping sense-specific fields of information. Some senses, particularly sight and touch, are represented by several maps, each with a slightly different emphasis and a slightly different location within the brain. In the case of vision, for example, there are at least five major map-systems, some devoted to object shape, others to color or object movement, still others to facial features and the imperatives of memory (7).
Memory is the most faithful of films … but who does not see the difference between a memory and the objective image that gives it eternal concrete form.
In Marcel Carné’s Juliette ou la clef des songes (1950) , the protagonist, Michel (Gerard Philipe), falls asleep in prison and dreams of a town on a hill in sunny Provence in which all the inhabitants have lost their memory. He wanders the streets looking for a woman about whom he remembers nothing except that he loves her and she is called Juliette.
In 1994, while writing The History of Forgetting, I used the term “phantom limb” for the first time, as a spatial metaphor more than a neurobiological phenomenon. Many famous sites in downtown Los Angeles had been leveled after 1961, particularly a hilltop neighborhood on the western brow of downtown. And despite redevelopment, their absence was still quite evident in 1994—faint traces.