For as into our possessions as we are…
….we have a curiously underdeveloped vocabulary for discussing our material world. We have general terms like stuff, things, junk, rubbish, refuse, trash. And more specific modifiers: obsolescent, outmoded, ephemeral.
Sarah Wasserman is the author of the upcoming book The Death of Things: Ephemera in America.
The Death of Things unravels the fascinating link between narrative and ephemera using 20th century American fiction as it’s roadmap.
“From the paper-maché palaces of the Chicago Columbian Exposition to the abraded edges and smeared ink of missing persons fliers that covered Manhattan after 9/11; from the newspapers in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie (1900) to the debris in Don DeLillo’s Underworld (1997), ephemeral objects demand a reckoning with loss that remains inimical to the American culture of production and consumption.”