Monday, March 27, 2023

Going to the video store in Anne Carson’s “Autobiography of Red” (1998)

In her 1998 verse novel "Autobiography of Red", Anne Carson sets the ancient Greek myth of Geryon and Herakles in the late twentieth century, as in the opening of the chapter "Memory Burn": "Herakles and Geryon had gone to the video store." From the mythological perspective, the "video store" moves the story forward in time — but from our perspective in 2023, when we have streaming services instead of video stores, the image pushes the story back in time, into a very specific span of time of only two or three decades. Writing the book in the 1990s, Carson surely could not have imagined how imminent the disappearance of video stores was. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 27 March 2023)

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