Ghost Storage – Between Archive and Ash: The Case of Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair’s Rodinsky’s Room

81g3-+CU2EL-1Niall Martin in The Literary London Journal 12.1 (2015): 48-61.

This reading of Rachel Lichtenstein and Iain Sinclair’s Rodinsky’s Room (1999) accentuates the tensions within their collaborative work to explore how the text produces alternative versions of the spectral within the global city. The importance of Rodinsky’s Room, it argues, lies in the fact that it is one of the few texts to demonstrate the necessity of understanding the contemporary metropolis not only as differently cultured but as differently haunted. To this end the article distinguishes between a Freudian ‘strategy of time’ that identifies the spectre with the displacement of the past by the present and an embryonic ‘theory of ghosts’ sketched by Adorno and Horkheimer which views ghosts rather as problems of storage within a functionalist economy and relates them thus to a strategy of space. The essay explores the interrelation of these two strategies in Lichtenstein and Sinclair’s text which presents itself as both a narrative of the archive and an archive of narratives.

Keywords: spectral cities, memory, archive, diaspora, Holocaust, immigration, globalisation.

Read the full article here.