Cover

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About the Series, Title Page, Copyright

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Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-viii

I am grateful to Catherine Liu for her generous support. Research for this book in Britain, Germany, and California was made possible by the DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service), the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the DFG (German Research Foundation), and the University of California. ...

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Been There, Done That

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pp. ix-xxviii

This book historicizes and theorizes déjà vu, from its first sustained discussions in the late nineteenth century to its latest cultural effects at the end of the twentieth century. Early theories on mnemopathology between philosophy and psychology yield a pre-Freudian logic of the cover-up, and later, media theories and cultural history screen each other over in turn. ...

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1. Secret Agents: Sigmund Freud in Reserve

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pp. 1-30

Sigmund Freud offered some of the most influential explanations of failures of memory or of incomplete forgetting, and his ideas have entered the lexicon of popular consciousness as well as the dictionaries. But his theories all but cover over the prepsychoanalytic explanations that had been suggested earlier. ...

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2. Future Interior: Walter Benjamin’s Envelope

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pp. 31-52

Déjà vu,” Walter Benjamin muses, “has been often described. Is the designation felicitous at all?”1 It is the tedious familiarity of the descriptions that raises his doubt as to whether the term is at all apposite for the phenomenon. ...

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3. Posthistoire in Ruins: Heiner Müller’s Hydrapoetics

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pp. 53-70

More directly than the work of any other German playwright or poet, Heiner Müller’s writing commented upon the political theater and cultural debates of Germany, both in the splits of the postwar, preunification era and around post–Berlin Wall, post–cold war tensions. ...

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4. Andy’s Wedding: Reading Warhol

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pp. 71-96

Andy Warhol used any and every available technology to communicate, and above all to communicate the fact that he was n communicating, but he never worried about the success or failure of communication—it was going to be repeated anyway.1 “Non-communication” was not a problem—“I think everyone understands everyone,” he said; ...

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5. Unforgiven: Toward an Ethics of Forgetting

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pp. 97-118

In film, according to the influential film theorist Christian Metz, “everything is recorded (as a memory trace which is immediately so, without having been something else before).”1 What Metz describes as an imaginary relation to time is indeed the structure of déjà vu, recording a past that was never present before it came to consciousness as past.2 ...

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6. Screen Memories: Hypertext

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pp. 119-142

Increasingly, reading and writing take place in front of the computer screen, and the expectations concerning new forms of interaction with data storage and access are high. Computer mediated communication in particular and screen media in general seem to put into question what older institutions and archives had to offer.1 ...

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7. Wrapping It Up: Mummy Effects

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pp. 143-154

If déjà vu is neither forgetting nor memory, if both are already caught up in its logic of the cover, one ought to recapture a sense that the déjà vu is impossible to recapture. In addition to the turn, around midcentury, that adds a second and pejorative meaning to the formerly haunting, uncanny experience, there is now, at the turn of another century, a renewed onslaught of wordplay and nonce words based on déjà vu. ...

Notes

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pp. 155-214

Index

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pp. 215-218