Friday, April 1, 2011

Monuments and Maidens, Marina Warner, 1996 or The Street (Paris)

Marina Warner is one of  my favourite writers, and in this book, "Monuments and Maidens", she has an interesting chapter on The Street (Paris). She is basically concerned with architecture, philosophy, facades and invisibility. I wish I had read it earlier, or having read it, remembered it! What she communicates so clearly is that Paris is fashioned, and therefore the text is inscribed,  and yet, following Robert Musil, she says that monuments are meant to be ignored. The preoccupation with the female form is now replaced by the structures of engineering that displace the body, as in the glass additions to the Louvre or the Pompidou Centre. Yet she says, "The city carries a story, the city presents a lure into its own version of the past; you could say it tells tales; that it lies." (pg 21)

The odd thing about maps and other people's versions is that they are merely guides no more,  or inscriptions for each pedestrian creates, memorises, retells, and finally in my mind everything is fantastic, because of the momentary quality of that experience. What fiction does is place an emphases on both narratives simultaneously, without believing that one is more important than the other.

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