Have you ever had one of those moments when you know that you are being visited by your own future? They come so rarely and with so little fanfare, those moments. They're not particularly photogenic, there's no breach in the clouds to reveal the shining city on a hill. No folk-dancing children outside your bus, no production values to speak of -- just a glimpse of such quotidian, incontrovertible truth that after the initial shock at the supreme weirdness of it all, a kind of calm sets in. So this is to be my life.
This is how one pictures the angel of history. His face is turned toward the past.
Where we perceive a chain of events, he sees one single catastrophe that keeps
piling ruin upon ruin and hurls it in front of his feet.
The angel would like to stay, awaken the dead, and make whole what has been smashed.
But a storm is blowing from Paradise; it has got caught in his wings
with such violence that the angel can no longer close them.
The storm irresistibly propels him into the future to which his back is turned,
while the pile of debris before him grows skyward. This storm is what we call progress.
Walter Benjamin, Theses on the Philosophy of History
I come back to the one thing I know. There is my body, sitting here on the edge of the bed, trembling and sweating.
John M. Hull
To capture the multiplicity of relations that link (and divide) past from present, the critic needs all the formal resources possible. Multiple perspectives, intertextuality, self-reflexivity, palimpsest structure, and recursive narratives can help one respond to the complexity of cultural history. One needs writing strategies that are equal to the uncanniness of history, the anachronistic, the untimely, the thick knots of connection. One needs the resourcefulness of a bricoleur and the irreverence of a hacker.
Jay Clayton, Charles Dickens in Cyberspace