Saturday, 1 January 2011

Lost allusions

"What do we lose when we lose allusion" is the tile of an old essay by Peter Hunt. He talks about different levels of literary texts and whether it is necessary to understand every single element that writers have put into them.

In everyday life, when we lose allusions we lose a part of ourselves. Yesterday I was about to post something on Facebook when I realised that of my 250 FB friends three maybe would recognise the allusion, and those three do not log in on FB anyway. This is the price of being a displaced hedgehog. You lose your allusions, your reference frames, your context. Or rather the other way round, you still carry them with you, but there is no one to share. I think that I have gathered a fairly good set of Swedish allusions, American allusions, and these last years British allusions. It helps that I am familiar with children's literature because many people would remember quotes and characters. It is more likely that they remember a children's book quote than a Shakespeare quote. But my Swedish allusions are wasted on my British friends. And my Russian allusions are wasted on almost everybody. Even my children.

Maybe it is not spatial, but temporal. Maybe I would have lost my allusions even if I had stayed put.There are family jokes that die when the family dies. Jokes that come from somewhere and wander away. Childhood anecdotes that do not make sense any more. Poetry lines. Dialogues from old movies. It's sad. One should not start the new year on such a sad note.


Anonymous said...

Något av det roligaste som jag gjorde under den sista dagen på år 2010 var att jag läste samtliga "Confessions of a displaces hedgehog".
Tack du kloka och fina hedgehog Maria.
Det var en härlig nyårsafton!

Lena Kjersén Edman
Wherever you are: Gott Nytt År!

Maria Nikolajeva said...

Tack, Lena. Bloggandet är på ett sätt otacksamt, man vet faktiskt inte vem som läser och varför. Det är skönt att få kommentarer då och då.