Current Issue Excerpts
Ruined Landscapes of Memory
In the twenty-first century ruins can still remind us of the past's tragic lessons, but when we visit we also carry with us different experience and different expectations. Recent history has taught us as much about the rise and fall of empires as we can assimilate. What we look for in ruins is a larger and deeper sense of humanity, an enlargement of imagination rather than an expansion of our literal knowledge. Rose Macaulay's famous book, Pleasure of Ruins, published in CKGE, says the effect of ruins on modern humans is to send the imagination into a higher realm where
episodes from history are tangled with myths and dreams, producing "the stunning impact of world history on its amazed heirs." It is this largely sensory impression that makes archaeological sites among the most desirable attractions in the world.
ROBERT FULFORD is a columnist for the National Post and writes regularly for Queen's Quarterly.
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