“I awoke to consciousness in a hospital-tent. I got hold of my own identity in a moment or two, and was suddenly aware of a sharp cramp in my left leg. I tried to get at it to rub it with my single arm, but, finding myself too weak, hailed an attendant. “Just rub my left calf,” said I, “if you please.”
Calf?” said he. “You ain’t none. It’s took off.”
“I know better,” said I. “I have pain in both legs.”
“Wall, I never!” said he. “You ain’t got nary leg.”
As I did not believe him, he threw off the covers, and, to my horror, showed me…
Part of the work described here was funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant no. 3100-67168.01). This essay is a condensation of several recent publications by the author, focusing on phantoms of congenitally absent limbs (Brugger and Funk, 2005), supernumerary phantoms (Brugger, 2003), hemiphantoms and phantoms of one’s entire body (Brugger, in press), respectively.
As I mentioned when I got up, I really will almost be speaking in aphorisms, quite mathematically. Let me first say that this is part of a larger project; which will be coming out in Configurations called “Towards a Culminative Image History.” I’ve been working on this for quite a while. The subtitle is “ Romanticism and the Genealogy of Thought,” and that is exactly my problem. How can we get –it seems to me it’s a very old problem and, as we’ve heard in the past two days, it’s also a very new problem.