Change Mummified: Cinema, Historicity, Theory

By Philip Rosen | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 3
Once upon a Time
in the West

Change, mutation, becoming in general were formerly taken as
proof of appearance, as a sign of the presence of something which
led us astray. Today, on the contrary, we see ourselves as it were
entangled in error, necessitated to error, to precisely the extent that
our prejudice in favor of reason compels us to posit unity, identity,
duration, substance, cause, materiality, being…

—Friedrich Nietzsche, Twilight of the Idols (1889)

Trace and aura. The trace is the appearance of a nearness, however
far removed the thing that left it behind may be. The aura is the
appearance of a distance, however close the thing that calls it forth.
In the trace, we gain possession of the thing; in the aura, it takes
possession of us.

—Walter Benjamin, The Arcades Project [M16a, 3]


Gaining Time

As is typical in such attractions, tourists exit Old Sturbridge Village through a gift and souvenir shop, in this case including a bookstore. One of the items recently available there was an edition—a facsimile edition, a kind of replication or restoration—of a book copublished by Old Sturbridge Village and said to have been popular among nineteenth-century American homemakers: Lydia Maria Child’s The American Frugal Housewife: Dedicated to Those Who Are Not Ashamed of Economy. A volume of recipes, home remedies, and tips on household procedures and management, it begins as follows:

-89-

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