A Presence in Time and Space

  • George Bagley


A PRESENCE IN TIME AND SPACE: AUTHORITY AND MEANING IN THE RECEPTION COMPLEX Consider Freud's dilemma while sleeping on a train. Upon waking, he mistakes the image reflected in his train compartment window as an elderly gentleman, only to realize in time that "the intruder was nothing more than [his] own reflection."(1) This brief, mistaken visualization presages the intricate relation between representation and understanding, and thus jump-starts a workable metaphor for the reception complex proposed here. Before him in the train's window Freud mistakenly regards an image and takes it at face value, the verifiable picture of a moment in time and space, yet in truth this is simply a manifestation, not the literal picture of that very moment, but a reproduction housing within itself a potential for eventual understanding. It's only after negotiating the field of this mirrored view, the reflection of the bench upon which he...