Lines that reduce : biography, palms, borders

  • Through various cases and instances, this essay opens with the question of biography and the demands of its form: that is, biography's attempt to reduce historical totalities to the page in moments of sudden condensation. It then introduces the figure of Charlotte Wolff (1897–1986), a doctor and later hand reader and sexologist, who appears on a diagram, constructed by Walter Benjamin in 1932, to map his life through his 'Urbekanntschaften' (primal acquaintances). It then seeks to transpose Benjamin's diagram into other linear forms, such as a family tree, a diagram of chemical affinity, and an astral chart, to add one: the diagram as a map of the hand. This opens up a number of temporal, historical, and epistemic reductions, or cases of reduction, in Wolff's work and beyond. It concludes with a particular moment in Wolff's biography - her arrest in 1933 and her escape to Paris - as a final instance of the line, as border.

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Author:Sam Dolbear
Parent Title (English):The case for reduction / edited by Christoph F.E. Holzhey and Jakob Schillinger ; Cultural Inquiry ; 25
Publisher:ICI Press
Place of publication:Berlin
Document Type:Part of a Book
Date of Publication (online):2023/03/01
Year of first Publication:2022
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/03/15
Tag:Benjamin, Walter: Pergamentheft
GND Keyword:Autobiografie; Benjamin, Walter; Berliner Chronik; Wolff, Charlotte; Handlesekunst
Page Number:17
First Page:117
Last Page:133
Dewey Decimal Classification:8 Literatur / 80 Literatur, Rhetorik, Literaturwissenschaft / 800 Literatur und Rhetorik
Sammlungen:CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
CompaRe | Allgemeine und Vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft / ICI Berlin
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung-Weitergabe unter gleichen Bedingungen 4.0