|Agamben’s problem is writ of habeas corpus. Writing to produce the body, but the corpus goes missing in its virtualization.
Coming of Book—apparition du livre—history of the book inscribes, in French, ghostly apparition. Appearance, but also ghost. A ghost appears.
The Writes of Man. Agamben depends on not reading Habeas corpus, or the Declaration of the rights of Man.
Connect Derrida on wallet to his comments on Pascal
As you well know, it is a posthumous piece of writing (now, of course, all writings are posthumous, within the trace as structurally and essentially and by destinal vocation posthumous or testamentary, there is a stricter enclave of the posthumous, namely, what is only discovered and published after the death of the author or signatory). Pascal’s writing on the god of Abraham was strictly posthumous in the latter sense, even though were not sure Pascal wanted it to be published. This piece of paper initially takes the form of a journal, a note to self, dated in Pascal’s hand—Pascal, who like Robinson Crusoe, here dates the signature. He inscribes the year, the month, the day, and the hour . . . (209)
Let’s come back to “Writing Found in Pascal’s Clothing After His Death.” There can be little doubt that this little piece of paper was destined, if not for someone, then at least to remain, to survive the moment of its inscription, to remain legible in the exteriority of the trace, of document, even if it were readable only to Pascal himself, later, in the generation of repetitions to come. 212
The word “fire” is, then, isolated, alone, insularized on a single line, and I’m not sure I can interpret it;” (212)
Connect Adorno Bibliographical musings with Benjamin’s “Unpacking my Library” in terms of the hidden collector who disappears in his books at the end of WB and the various personifications of books in Adorno’s essay, especially the crucial final section of the essay.
the ending fits our notion of the book as being about metaphorology since at the end books become metaphorical, stones for the building in which the collector dwells. The last lines enact a split in Benjamin implicit in his impossible narration (writing and unpacking at the same time, becoming only more clearly impossible at the end—how could he have been unpacking as he wrote the essay?), WB splits the collector into a third person and a first person. In the last sentence, about the collector disappearing, WB becomes a displaced person through his collecting.
Although he and yet someone else dwell in the collection WB collects. WB does not himself live in his collection, like the collector. He builds the dwelling for the collector to dwell. The shift from “I to “he” in the last sentence is really quite awkward even as the disappearing act is elegantly performed.
The disappearance of the collector is also posed in the oft-cited line about the collector being comprehended only in his extinction.
I do know that I am running out for the type that I am discussing here and have been representing before you a bit ex officio. But, as Hegel put, only when it is dark does the owl of Minerva begin its flight. Only in extinction is the collector comprehended.
The end of collecting is posed in terms of a metaphor of species extinction. But it’s a very dialectally tense sentence, traversed by acid irony that is really Schleglian rather than Hegelian—comprehension (knowledge of x when x has been completed but also over, lost, hence non-knowledge). This dialectical follows from the assertion that “collecting loses its meaning a it loses its personal owner.” The phrase seem to assert straightforward analogy, a corollary between collecting meaning, and personal ownership), when it really is about the self-negating temporality of collecting, its drive toward loss of meaning and depersonalization even as it becomes increasingly personal. The dialectical tension is made more explicit in the following sentence: “Even though public collections may be less objectionable socially and more useful academically than private collections, the objects get their due only in the latter.” Private collections have no use and no use value: objects (It’s interesting how WB shifts from books in particular to objects in general) get the way they do because they are totally private, without any exchange value either (though potentially it would seem they could be sold or traded). Ownership turns into a state of being: some things can be more deeply owned than others, and the more deeply they are owned, the less value they have, the more they tend to move toward disappearance.
It’s as if the entire essay were setting up the last lines starting with “O bliss of the collector, bliss of the man of leisure!”
The final turn to books as stones involves a kind of escape hatch for the writer / collector—he displaces himself through metaphor and is thereby able to disappear into his books, or perhaps almost literally into the book in which his essay appears—perhaps we can now read the line differently because the essay is in a book; the essay has taken on a self-referential function being now part of a book series (complete works) on shelves in various libraries. In any case, the collector, WB, can disappear only by building and dwelling for another collector to disappear in—so WB remains outside life and the collector lives in books. He lives barely outside the box, the dwelling, in a position of extimacy (to his own collection). In this sense, he survives, perhaps, as Adorno liked to think his works did, in Adorno’s essay in memory of WB in Prisms.
This kind of exteriorization and interiorization of the collector (WB and not WB, I and he, inside dwelling and outside the dwelling) operates as a kind of spectralization or virtualization of WB.
WB as itinerant and invader—exploring a city in relation to its fortresses of bookstores. Like hteBN as fortress in Resnai film.