Infinite Mischief

Must historical novels … be held to a higher truth standard because they are dealing, overtly, with history rather than story, even if that history is as horrific as that of the Holocaust?

Taking off from Thomas Hardy’s pronouncement that the “mixing of fact and fiction in unknown proportions” amounts to “infinite mischief,” Carol Gluck considers the tension between fact and fiction in her lively opinion piece for Representations 124, “Infinite Mischief? History and Literature Once Again.”

CAROL GLUCK is the George Sansom Professor of History at Columbia University, specializing in the history of modern Japan. She is co-editor with Anna Tsing of Words in Motion: Toward a Global Lexicon (Duke, 2009) and author of Thinking with the Past: Japan and Modern History (University of California, forthcoming).

Inge Hinterwaldner on Visualizing Turbulence

“Why is it that we try to achieve new insights, new knowledge, new design by way of making artifacts such as sketches, diagrams, and models?”


HinterwaldnerFig14In her essay “Parallel Lines as Tools for Making Turbulence Visible” (Representations 124), Inge Hinterwaldner, Assistant of Modern Art History at the University of Basel, addresses this question through the work of physicists Etienne-Jules Marey and Friedrich Ahlborn, both of whom made photographic attempts to depict turbulence in air and water at the turn of the twentieth century. Both scientists used parallel lines to describe their findings, yet their representations functioned differently, depending on the differing underlying conceptions from which each began.
HinterwaldnerFig16b (1)


Inge Hinterwaldner’s research interests include computer-based art and architecture, image theory, model theory, and temporality in the visual arts. Her first book is entitled Das systemische Bild (The systemic image; Munich, 2010).

Twice Written, Never Read

Twice Written, Never Read: Pascal’s Mémorial Between Superstition and Superbia


Why exactly did Blaise Pascal carry with him the testimony of a life-transforming religious experience written in two slightly different versions and hidden in the lining of his coat? By tracing the unease with which this question has been met—or most often, dodged—by 350 years’ worth of readers, this essay (recently published in Representations 124) argues that Pascal’s so-called Mémorial still today presents us with the necessity to rethink the commemorative and transformative function of texts in general.


HALL BJØRNSTAD, Assistant Professor of French at Indiana University, Bloomington, is the author of Créature sans créateur. Pour une anthropologie baroque dans les “Pensées” de Pascal (Québec, 2010; Paris, 2013) and, with Katherine Ibbett, co-editor of a special issue of Yale French Studies, “Walter Benjamin’s Hypothetical French Trauerspiel (2014).