New Criticals


"Things are in the saddle
And ride mankind"
-Ralph Waldo Emerson

In this case, the reverse is true: all unhappy collectors are alike, and all happy collectors are happy in their own way. There are, after all, many, many ways to own things, and only one way not to. Setting aside questions of property itself, personal or collective, collecting suggests a certain kind of alienation, which collecting relieves. Gathering and fetishizing objects, which however banal nevertheless dazzle the collector in being singular and part of a whole, offers a kind of relief in connection. Here I have, in my hand, one thing which I desired, which I acquired, and which is now mine—a kind of ownership wherein the thing becomes a part of the holder, and the holder becomes connected to the rest of the world. Obviously a rose-tinted view of a spiritualized acquisitiveness, which at worst becomes the image of the Standard Oil octopus or the sovereigns of Europe cutting the continent like so much cake.  For the collector, the goal is an impossible completion, to have a finished collection, every issue, every example, every iteration. The scope of that completion defines the happiness of the collector.